Cody Glass of Chicago beat Jeff Glass of San Diego with the game-winning goal on a breakaway 14:03 into sudden-death overtime to give the Wolves a 5-4 victory Friday over the Gulls in Game 1 of the AHL’s Western Conference final in Rosemont, Illinois.
Cody Glass got free after the Gulls’ Chase De Leo slashed his stick out of his hands in the neutral zone. Glass headed to the Chicago bench for a new stick and when he turned back to rejoin the play, the Wolves had gained possession and he was behind the last line of San Diego’s defense.
Tomas Hyka passed the puck ahead to Cody Glass and he beat Jeff Glass (no relation) to cap a back-and-forth game in which the Wolves rallied for the tying goal with 3:05 left in regulation play. Nic Hague tied it for Chicago after the second of Max Comtois’ two goals gave San Diego a 4-3 lead.
“We’ve been through enough now,” San Diego coach Dallas Eakins told reporters. “We don’t get overly excited or overly down about anything. We understand these games are going to go long sometimes. We understand there’s going to be swings of momentum and lead changes, and we just need to stay in the moment no matter what our circumstance is.”
Game 2 is Saturday at Allstate Arena. The best-of-7 series then shifts to San Diego’s Pechanga Arena for Games 3, 4 and 5 on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (if necessary). The winner advances to the Calder Cup final to face the winner of the Eastern Conference final.
Toronto leads Charlotte 1-0, after a 2-1 victory Friday in Game 1.
The Gulls, the Ducks’ AHL affiliate, erased deficits of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 and then took an all-too-brief 4-3 lead when Comtois scored at 10:43 of the third period. Comtois slammed home a pass off the end boards from teammate Adam Cracknell, the second of his two assists.
The Wolves, the Vegas Golden Knights’ affiliate, rallied to tie it on Hague’s goal. Tobias Lindberg, Daniel Carr and Tye McGinn also scored for the Wolves. Corey Tropp, Comtois and Andy Welinski also scored for the Gulls.
San Diego is 3-2 in overtime during the playoffs; the Wolves are 2-0.
“No need to dwell on the past, nothing you can do about it,” Cracknell told reporters. “Can’t feel sorry for ourselves because we lost the game. We’re not going to come in here and sweep the series. Obviously, that would be the ultimate goal, but right now we’re down 1-0.”
Max Jones sat out for the fourth consecutive game because of a head injury suffered in Game 3 of the Gulls’ second-round series against the Bakersfield Condors. Troy Terry, another top Ducks prospect, hasn’t played since breaking his leg in a March 29 game against the Calgary Flames.
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