Jun 22, 2022
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Springfield Thunderbirds could not find a way to get a puck past 22-year-old Peter Kochetkov, who led the Chicago Wolves to a 4-0 win on Wednesday night in Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals in front of a sold- out MassMutual Center. Chicago now leads the best-of-seven series, two games to one.
After the two clubs rattled off a combined 17 goals in the first two games of the series, the offensive fireworks finally slowed down a bit in the opening half of period one on Wednesday. Neither Charlie Lindgren of Springfield nor Kochetkov of Chicago was altogether busy in their goal crease power plays became a factor in the closing minutes of the period.
The Wolves’ power play continued its hot streak when Richard Panik fielded a puck out of his skates in the low slot and beat Lindgren over the glove for his third goal in three games, giving Chicago the 1-0 lead at 14:50. It was the third straight game where Chicago scored the game’s opening tally.
Springfield had its own power-play chance to answer back less than three minutes after the Panik goal, but Kochetkov and the Wolves’ penalty kill, which has started the series 11-for-13, stiffened to carry the 1-0 edge into intermission .
As has been a problem at various times in the postseason for Chicago, penalty trouble seen into the Wolves’ game in the second period, as Springfield picked up three separate power-play chances, but the Wolves’ penalty kill continued to stifle the Thunderbirds’ man-advantage.
Chicago’s first successful kill of the period rolled into momentum for its offense. After he was robbed on a hard one-timer by Lindgren less than a minute before, Ivan Lodnia blasted a second attempt past Lindgren at 6:25 to give the Wolves a 2-0 edge, marking the third straight game in the series where Chicago has held a multi-goal lead.
The Wolves’ defense was next to join the scoring as Jalen Chatfield dashed up into a rush across the Springfield line, snapping a forehand try over Lindgren’s glove to make it 3-0 at 14:36. Josh Leivo picked up his second primary helper of the contest and league-leading 26th point of the postseason on the Chatfield goal.
Kochetkov’s excellence continued into the final period, as 11 more Springfield shots were little match for the rookie netminder, who picked up his second shutout in his last three outings in the playoffs. Stefan Noesen added an empty-net, power-play goal in the closing minutes to round out the Wolves’ second straight win in the series.
The Thunderbirds look to bounce back and even the series on Friday night inside the MassMutual Center. Friday night’s Game 4 has already sold out, but tickets for Saturday’s Game 5 are available now by clicking the link below.
The full series schedule can be seen below:
Game 1: Sunday, June 19 – Thunderbirds 5, Wolves 4 (OT)
Game 2: Monday, June 20 – Wolves 6, Thunderbirds 2
Game 3: Wednesday, June 22 – Wolves 4, Thunderbirds 0
Game 4: Friday, June 24 – Wolves @ Thunderbirds, 7:05 pm ET – SOLD OUT
Game 5: Saturday, June 25 – Wolves @ Thunderbirds, 7:05 pm ET – Click Here for Tickets
Game 6*: Tuesday, June 28 – Thunderbirds @ Wolves, 8:00 pm ET
Game 7*: Wednesday, June 29 – Thunderbirds @ Wolves, 8:00 pm ET
Thunderbirds Calder Cup Finals tickets are on sale now! To purchase your seats, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.