04 March 2012

Mancari Hat Trick Lifts Wolves Over Western Conference Leader

ROSEMONT, Ill.---The Chicago Wolves kicked off the final quarter of their 2011-12 regular season Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena with one of their finest wins of the year.

Mark Mancari delivered his second hat trick of the season and Darren Haydar registered his 100th goal with the Wolves as Chicago earned a 4-1 triumph over the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Barons.

Goaltender Eddie Lack rejected 32 shots as the Wolves (31-22-2-3) ended their season-high-tying five-game winless streak. They also pulled within three points of first-place Charlotte in the Midwest Division.

“We looked a lot better today than we did last night and it is a bit of a relief to get a win,” said Wolves head coach Craig MacTavish. “Now we can build on this momentum instead of trying to rebuild after a loss.”

The Wolves snapped two slumps in one fell swoop with the game’s first goal, which came at the 10:15 mark of the first period. Mancari blasted a shot from the left point that whizzed through Byron Bitz’ screen and past Oklahoma City goaltender David LeNeveu. Kevin Connauton and Haydar picked up assists on the score.

Mancari’s first tally of the day ended a 220-minute, 45-second stretch where the Wolves managed just 1 goal. Chicago also earned its second power-play goal in the last 45 chances.

The Wolves’ success on the power play set the stage for a flurry at the outset of the second period.

Just 26 seconds into the middle frame, Mancari gained possession of the puck in a crowd along the boards at the blue line and wristed the puck past an unsuspecting LeVeneu. Seven seconds later, Haydar took advantage of a turnover to give the Wolves a 3-0 lead. Andrew Gordon earned his first assist with the Wolves.

Haydar’s first goal in 18 games enabled him to join Steve Maltais (454 goals), Rob Brown (157) and Brett Sterling (143) as the only players in Wolves annals to reach the 100-goal mark. It also knocked LeNeveu from the game in favor of Olivier Roy.

Oklahoma City (35-17-2-4) cut the margin to 3-1 with 42 seconds left in the second period on Linus Omark’s sixth goal of the season.

Mancari iced the victory when he swiped the puck from Barons defenseman Taylor Chorney and raced in for a breakaway goal at 17:29 of the third period. Mancari owns five hat tricks in the last two seasons and eight multiple-goal efforts this year.

The Wolves return to the ice at 7 p.m. Wednesday to face Milwaukee in an Amtrak Rivalry game at Allstate Arena. For ticket information, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.

Oklahoma City 0 1 0 -- 1

Chicago 1 2 1 -- 4

First Period---1, Chicago, Mancari 23 (Connauton, Haydar), 10:15 pp. Penalties---Keller, Oklahoma City (holding), 7:08; Montgomery, Oklahoma City (holding), 9:24; Omark, Oklahoma City (high-sticking), 10:34; Lander, Oklahoma City (double minor high-sticking), 15:11; Matheson, Chicago (hooking), 17:45.

Second Period---2, Chicago, Mancari 24 (Reinprecht, Baumgartner), 0:26; 3, Chicago, Haydar 13 (Gordon), 0:33; 4, Oklahoma City, Omark 6 (VandeVelde, Paajarvi), 19:18. Penalties--Tyrvainen, Oklahoma City (roughing), 3:00.

Third Period---5, Chicago, Mancari 25 (unassisted), 17:29. Penalties---Polasek, Chicago (tripping), 11:42;

Shots on goal---Oklahoma City: 12-13-8—33; Chicago: 9-14-9—32. Power plays---Oklahoma City 0-2; Chicago 1-6. Goalies—Oklahoma City, LeNeveu (8-11), Roy (20-21); Chicago, Lack (32-33). A---10,725. Referee---Graham Skilliter. Linesmen---Brian Oliver and Mathieu Chenier.