Brett Sterling scored a hat trick in a tight win by the Chicago Wolves over the Peoria Rivermen Wednesday night at the Allstate Arena. It was the first hat trick scored this year by the team at home and the third scored against Peoria.
The goals pushed Sterling to a league leading 49 goals this season. Despite the loss, Peoria goalie Chris Beckford-Tseu gave an outstanding performance, stopping a breakaway barrage of shots by Guillaume Desbiens on a first period break away and 20 shots on goal by the Wolves in the third period alone.
Peoria jumped the Wolves first, however, when Mike Glumac passed the puck to Charles Linglet in the left circle. Linglet backhanded the shot past Wolves goalie Fred Brathwaite to put the Rivermen up 1-0. Chicago tied it in the second frame during a 5-3 advantage when Darren Haydar found Sterling in the right circle for a quick one-timer.
Peoria took the lead later in the second frame, on a delayed penalty call, Yan Stasny fed Glumac from the corner for a quick poke into the net. However with less than a minute to go in the frame, Haydar and Krog rushed the Peoria goal then pulled up for Sterling who found the back of the net.
At the 2.50 mark of the final frame, Chicago took its first lead of the game on a power play when Andy Delmore lighted the lamp on a rebound. The battle see-sawed once again when Stasny buried the puck in a crowd.
The game winner was scored with the assistance of Haydar and Brian Fahey when Sterling grabbed the puck off the rebound with just 51 seconds remaining. “The third period was quite possibly our best period of the season,” Wolves Coach John Anderson said. “If (Sterling) doesn’t win rookie of the year, something’s wrong.”
Beckford-Tseu received the loss, stopping 34 shots. Brathwaite the win, stopping 21 shots.
The game leaves the Wolves hanging on to first by three points against the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights. The Knights host the Wolves Friday in Omaha, the first away game for the Wolves since February 23.