The Chicago Wolves will have to wait another day to win the Western Conference Finals while the Stockton Heat rebounded in Game 4 with a 4-3 victory in overtime on Friday night at the Stockton Arena.
After The Heat’s Glenn Gawdin scored 49 seconds from time to force overtime, Gawdin delivered the game-winner on the power play with a 6:43 into overtime to prevent the Wolves from winning the four-game sweep.
Forwards Jack Drury, Andrew Poturalski and Josh Leivo scored for Wolves (9-2), while Stefan Noesen provided two assists and rookie goalkeeper Pyotr Kochetkov (1-1) made 34 saves.
Wolves batted first for the fifth straight season when Drury grabbed a rebound on the game’s first power play at 4:40 of the first. Poturalski, working along the left half-wall, fed Noesen for a stuff attempt from just outside the crease. The rebound went straight to Drury at the bottom of the right circle and he blasted home his seventh postseason goal.
Stockton (7-4) equalized the score at 16:08 of the first. Kochetkov ventured behind the net to play the puck, but Stockton’s Byron Froese slapped it loose and Martin Pospisil scooped it into the net.
Wolves regained the lead with Poturalski’s goal by 1:57 in the second minute. Poturalski started the rush and fed the puck to defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald, who carried it into the offensive zone and played along the left half-wall to Noesen. Noesen waited for Poturalski to find a space in the slot, got him going and Poturalski deflected the puck past goaltender Dustin Wolf’s glove for a 2-1 lead.
Leivo gave Chicago a crucial insurance goal at 4:56 in the third. Drury batted the puck away in the defensive zone and Gust caught up with him down the right wing in the offensive zone. The Orland Parker native was quick to stop at the right circle, spotted Leivo open at the far post, and put the pass on the ribbon for Leivo’s best 10th postseason goal in the AHL.
That mark proved necessary as Stockton responded eight seconds later with Justin Kirkland’s rebound goal to make it 3-2 at 5:04.
Wolves killed three Stockton power plays down the stretch, but the Heat pulled their keeper and Gawdin hit a rebound home with 49 seconds left to force overtime. Wolf (7-4) finished the win with 31 saves.
Wolves remain in Stockton at 8pm on Saturday for Game 5. If the series requires more than five games, the Wolves will host Game 6 on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Game 7 on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Allstate Arena. To find the best ticket deals, visit ChicagoWolves.com/Playoffs or contact a team representative at [email protected]