Kenny Agostino collected a goal and two assists for his 11th multi-point effort of the year in the Chicago Wolves’ 4-2 win against the Charlotte Checkers Tuesday at Allstate Arena. With the victory, the Chicago pushed its season-high winning streak to six games.
Defenseman Vince Dunn, forward Andrew Agozzino and center Ivan Barbashev also scored for Chicago (19-11-3-2), which moved into a Central Division first-place tie with the Grand Rapids Griffins at 43 points apiece.
Captain Chris Butler assisted on three Wolves tallies for his first multi-point effort of the season. Agostino’s three points extended his point streak to a Chicago season-high eight games. Agostino, Agozzino and Barbashev were on the ice for all of the Wolves’ goals.
“They’re having a good run,” said Wolves head coach Craig Berube. “I think they’re three solid players, they work hard and they’ve got good, solid chemistry right now.”
Each team had chances in the opening 14 minutes, but the Wolves struck first at 14:20 of the frame. Sustaining offensive pressure, Butler made a play to shield the puck from a Checkers defender near the right-point wall. He shoveled the puck to Agostino low in the zone and he slipped it across the top of the circle to Dunn skating up the slot for a shot that found the top-right corner of the net.
Coming off a successful penalty kill at the 4:01 mark of the middle period, Charlotte (12-19-2-0) kept pressuring the Wolves. Eventually it paid off as Patrick Dwyer chipped the puck over Wolves netminder Ville Husso (4-1-0) while standing at the top of the crease.
The stanza remained tied until Agozzino, celebrating his 26th birthday, lasered a shot from the top of the slot for the 2-1 go-ahead goal with just 11 seconds on the clock.
In the third period at 13:57, Valentin Zykov skated around the Wolves net and slung a pass to Phil Di Giuseppe waiting at the left net side for the easy tap-in marker to again knot the game at two.
However, 57 seconds later, the Wolves regained the lead when Agozzino passed the puck out of the right offensive corner back to Butler at the same-side point. Butler faked a shot and passed to Jordan Schmaltz at the left point for a one-time chance that hit Ivan Barbashev on its way through the slot and passed Checkers goalkeeper Michael Leighton (8-4-2).
Agostino potted the 4-2 insurance marker – his 15th goal of the season – at 17:57 of the final frame.
Husso stopped 23 of 25 shots for the victory while Leighton turned aside 25 shots in the loss.
The Chicago Wolves return to action on Friday (Jan. 6) in an Illinois Lottery Cup clash against the Rockford IceHogs at Allstate Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m.