SAN ANTONIO — The Chicago Wolves bagged two goals in the third period but couldn’t find the equalizer as they fell 4-3 to the San Antonio Rampage in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals Saturday night at the AT&T Center.
Center Kevin Doell scored twice and right wings Darren Haydar (goal, assist) and Mark Mancari (two assists) notched two points for Chicago, which trails San Antonio 2-games-to-0 in the best-of-five series.
“The game looked like it got away from us and we lost composure at a critical time,” said Wolves head coach Craig MacTavish. “We were able to get back in the third and I hope we can build on it going into Game 3.”
Entering the third period trailing 4-1, the Wolves cut their deficit to 4-3 with two power-play goals in the span of 41 seconds. The first came while Chicago worked with a 5-on-3 advantage at 8:07. Haydar held the puck at the far goal line and tried to slip a pass to Mancari at the top of the crease, but Haydar’s pass went off a Rampage defender’s sakte and through goaltender Jacob Markstorm’s legs.
The Wolves converted the remaining power play 41 seconds later when Doell scored his second of the night at 8:07. Haydar threw the puck to Doell behind the net and he walked to the front of the crease and sent a shot past Markstrom.
San Antonio opened scoring while on the power play 4:18 into the contest. Forward Greg Rallo controlled the puck at the near point and wristed a shot that barely got off the ice before being redirected by right wing Bill Thomas through the legs of Chicago netminder Matt Climie.
The Rampage doubled their lead at 13:51 of the opening frame with their second power-play marker of the game. A Wolves defensemen lost control of the puck behind his net and center James Wright scooped up the loose puck and tucked it home between the post and Climie’s skate.
Chicago got on the scoreboard just 23 seconds later when right wing Mark Mancari’s shot from the near circle was tipped by Doell and stopped by Markstrom. Doell was able to get his stick on the rebound and backhand the puck over the goal line.
Markstrom (2-0) stopped 36 of 39 shots.
San Antonio regained its two-goal advantage at 9:10 of the middle frame with its third man-advantage marker. Center Jon Matsumoto held the puck at the near goal line and flicked a shot off Climie’s arm into the back of the net.
The Rampage jumped ahead 4-1 at 13:43 when defenseman Bracken Kearns rushed up the near boards and sent a shot from the near circle that beat Climie on the blocker side. That sent him to the bench in favor of Eddie Lack.
Climie (0-1) recorded 20 saves in 33:34 of action while Lack kicked out all seven shots he faced in 25:25 of relief duty.
The series shifts to Chicago where the Wolves will try to stave off elimination when they battle the Rampage in Game 3 at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Allstate Arena. Games 4 and 5, if necessary, are scheduled for Wednesday and Friday in Rosemont.