Wolves lose three players but gain gritty point

Written By BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media Posted: 03/17/2014, 06:00am

Despite being down three skaters, the Wolves were less than a minute away from forcing a shootout with the Milwaukee Admirals. Thanks to some bad luck, they didn’t get there.

The Admirals’ Austin Watson scored with 21.1 seconds left in overtime when his backhanded centering pass went off Wolves defenseman Taylor Chorney’s skate and past goalie Matt Climie, giving Milwaukee a 3-2 win Saturday night. The Wolves extended their point streak to seven games and pulled to within three of first-place Grand Rapids in the Midwest Division.

They did that playing much of the game with a short bench. Defenseman Cade Fairchild and forward Derek Nesbitt didn’t come out for the second period, and blue-liner Mark Cundari didn’t play the final period and overtime, leaving them three players short.

Just getting to overtime, and not the lost point, is what the Wolves (28-16-4-2) were thinking about.

“Effort’s never been our problem,” Wolves coach John Anderson said. “We played hard, they played hard too and they played a real good game.”

That’s the norm for the Wolves and Admirals this season. For the seventh time in seven meetings, the teams were separated by only a goal. Five of the games have gone to overtime.

But for only the second time the Wolves were on the short end. They went down 1-0 in the first period on a Filip Forsberg goal but tied the game 31 seconds later when Shane Harper beat Hannu Toivonen (28 saves).

The Wolves took their first lead when Ty Rattie, using a baseball swing to shoot the puck out of the air, scored his team-leading 19th at the 1:20 mark of the second. But the Admirals’ Colton Sissons tied the game with 13:12 to go in the second. That was it until overtime and Watson’s goal.

“It is what it is. It’s not like our season’s over or anything,” Chorney said. “I think at this point in the year you always want to shoot for two points, but if you can come out of a game like that with — facing the adversity that we did — with one point, we’ll take it for now.

“Try to regroup tonight and go back and get them again tomorrow.”

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