Wolves again stalled in OT
Defenseman Connor Mackey's goal 14:27 into overtime lifted the Stockton Heat to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Wolves Saturday night at Stockton Arena in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.
Forwards Spencer Smallman and Richard Panik scored for the Wolves (9-3), who dropped an overtime decision for the second time in as many days. They will host the Heat (8-4) in Game 6 at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Allstate Arena.
For the fifth consecutive game, neither the Wolves nor Heat took a lead into the locker room at the first intermission. Chicago outshot Stockton 11-6, but neither team had many scoring chances.
The Wolves broke on top for the fifth consecutive game as Smallman registered the team's first short-handed goal of the postseason at 3:28 of the second to take a 1-0 lead. Jalen Chatfield and Smallman battled to claim the puck in the neutral zone, then Chatfield wound up with the puck along the right half-wall. He waited for Jack Drury to enter the play and fed him for a quick wrister from the high slot that Smallman tipped past goaltender Dustin Wolf.
Stockton pulled into a 1-1 tie when forward Walker Duehr redirected defenseman Nick DeSimone's shot at 17:23 of the second. The Heat claimed their first lead when Jakob Pelletier cleaned up the rebound on Martin Pospisil's shot 3:27 in the third.
The Wolves responded with Panik's power-play goal at 9:52 of the third. After an extended Chicago flurry that required Wolf to leave the crease, Andrew Poturalski collected the puck below the goal line, spied Panik between the circles and the longtime NHL forward one-timed it home for a 2-2 knot.
Stockton claimed the victory when Mackey, a northwest suburban Chicago native and the son of former Chicago Wolves forward David Mackey, accepted a pass from Byron Froese between the circles and wristed it home at 14:27.
Wolf (8-4) posted 37 saves in the win while Lyon (8-2) rejected 32 of 35 shots, which included a variety of highlight-reel plays.