Matt Climie warms up after slow start as Wolves win in shootout
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media January 4, 2014 11:20PM
The Wolves’ Keith Aucoin (left) wins the battle for the puck against Steven Kampfer. With two assists, Aucoin moved into seventh on the all-time AHL points list. | Ross Dettman/Wolves
Updated: February 6, 2014 6:51AM
Goalie Matt Climie’s night mirrored that of the Wolves’.
Both struggled in the first period, and both were strong for the rest of the game. That recovery was good enough for a 4-3 shootout victory Saturday over the Iowa Wild at Allstate Arena.
Sergey Andronov, Pat Cannone and Ty Rattie scored for the Wolves in regulation, and Climie made 27 saves. Rattie, Keith Aucoin, Sebastian Wannstrom and Dmitrij Jaskin connected in the shootout, and Climie stopped two of three attempts to give the Wolves the victory, their sixth in eight games.
With two assists, Aucoin moved into seventh place in American Hockey League history in points, and Mark Mancari became the 87th player with 500 points after his first-period assist.
After allowing three goals on 17 shots in the first period, Climie could have been replaced by coach John Anderson. He wasn’t, and he stayed in to finish the game, stopping the last 13 shots he faced.
Two of those came late in overtime, when Climie denied Raphael Bussieres on a breakaway, then Jonathon Blum on the rebound, keeping the game tied and sending it to the shootout.
“Climie’s here for a reason. We believe in him with stuff like that,” Anderson said.
“I could have pulled him after a couple of goals there but you’ve got to back your goalie and hang in there with him, and he gave us a big win in the overtime.”
After 20 minutes that didn’t look likely for the Wolves, who were without goalie Jake Allen after his recall to the St. Louis Blues. Heading into the first intermission, they trailed 3-2 on goals by Kyle Medvec, Carson McMillan and Erik Haula, and had been outshot 17-10.
The second period — and the rest of the game — was more to Anderson’s liking.
The Wolves outshot Iowa 10-3 in that period. The three shots equaled the fewest the Wolves have allowed in a period this season, and it helped them tie the game at 3 with 6:08 remaining when Rattie converted the rebound of a shot by Joel Edmundson.
“Certainly, the last two periods I thought we controlled the game,” Anderson said.
The Wolves wore special First Responders jerseys and before the game, Henry Hugel and Bill Steiner appeared with anthem singer and senior executive vice president Wayne Messmer. Hugel and Steiner were of the first responders when Messmer was shot in the throat on April 9, 1994.