Jamieson Rees scored 2:26 into overtime to give the Chicago Wolves a 5-4 victory over the Stockton Heat in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals at Allstate Arena on Friday night.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be played Monday evening.
Rees collected a loose rebound off a Richard Panik shot and beat a sprawling Dustin Wolf for the decisive goal, his second tally (and second game-winner) of the postseason.
The first-ever meeting between these clubs ― the top two finishers in the overall AHL standings during the regular season ― was a back-and-forth affair all night, as both teams erased deficits in regulation. Chicago came back from 3-1 down to take the lead in the third period, before Stockton tied it at 4-4 with 8:35 to play.
Josh Leivo had two goals and an assist for the Wolves, who were 3-for-3 on the power play against a Heat club that led the league on the penalty kill during the regular season. Stefan Noesen and Jalen Chatfield each notched a goal and an assist.
Luke Philp, Walker Duehr, Eetu Tuulola and Connor Zary scored for Stockton.
Alex Lyon (7-1) made 24 saves for Chicago in the victory, while Wolf (6-2) turned aside 35 shots for the Heat.
C1-Chicago Wolves vs. P1-Stockton Heat
Game 1 – Fri., June 3 – CHICAGO 5, Stockton 4 (OT)
Game 2 – Mon., June 6 – Stockton at Chicago, 8:00
Game 3 – Wed., June 8 – Chicago at Stockton, 9:30
Game 4 – Fri., June 10 – Chicago at Stockton, 10:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 11 – Chicago at Stockton, 9:00
*Game 6 – Tue., June 14 – Stockton at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 15 – Stockton at Chicago, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern