Goaltender Drew MacIntyre (19-14-2) stopped all four San Antonio attempts in the shootout and made a season-high 45 saves in regulation and overtime to lead the Wolves to victory. Right wing Tim Stapleton provided both Wolves goals in regulation and converted in the shootout, as did left wing Andrew Kozek. Left wing Brett MacLean scored both goals for San Antonio.
With the win, Chicago (45-19-1-5) became the first team in the West Division to clinch a playoff spot, marking their 14th postseason berth in 16 seasons.
“Mac stole that one for us,” said Wolves Head Coach Don Lever. “That was the best goaltending we’ve had in a long time, and we’ve had some really good goaltending this season. It was a very solid performance.”
San Antonio (32-29-4-7) drew first blood with a power-play goal at 11:07 of the first period. Defenseman Shaun Heshka sent a pass from the right face-off circle to left wing Brett MacLean parked at the left corner of the net for a quick one-timer past MacIntyre.
Right wing Tim Stapleton evened the score, 1-1, at 15:19 of the second period when he raced into the Rampage zone to collect a loose puck and took of alone toward the net, cranking a shot past Rampage netminder Miika Wiikman before San Antonio’s defense could catch up.
Wiikman (2-4-1) turned aside 27 shots in regulation and overtime, and stopped two of four Wolves attempts in the shootout.
MacLean came around the back of the net and angled a backhanded shot between MacIntyre and the post to give the Rampage a 2-1 edge with his second of the game at 4:28 of the third period.
Stapleton brought Chicago even again, 2-2, 10:19 into the third period when he whipped a shot past Wiikman from the near circle.
The Wolves visit Carver Arena to take on the Peoria Rivermen on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
San Antonio 1 0 1 0 -- 2
Chicago 0 1 1 0 (1) -- 3
First Period---1, San Antonio, MacLean 28 (Heshka, Schlemko), 11:07 pp. Penalties---Kozek, Chicago (hooking), 9:32; Zimmerman, San Antonio (delay of game), 14:20.
Second Period---2, Chicago, Stapleton 28 (unassisted), 15:19. Penalties---Kulda, Chicago (hooking), 0:44; Picard, San Antonio (tripping), 11:11; Lessard, San Antonio (fighting), 14:14; Weller, Chicago (fighting), 14:14; Kaip, Chicago (boarding), 14:53; Zimmerman, San Antonio (holding), 17:10; Stewart, Chicago (holding), 19:00; Lessard, San Antonio (misconduct), 20:00; Machacek, Chicago (misconduct), 20:00.
Third Period---3, San Antonio, MacLean 29 (Picard, Turris), 4:28; 4, Chicago, Stapleton 29 (Crabb), 10:19. Penalties---None.
Shootout---San Antonio: Boedker, miss; Turris, miss; Schlemko, miss; Spina, miss. Chicago: Stapleton, made; Kozek, made; Doell, miss; Krog, miss.
Shots on goal---San Antonio: 12-19-13-3--47. Chicago: 8-11-9-1-1-30. Power plays---San Antonio: 1-4. Chicago: 0-3. Goalies---San Antonio, Wiikman (27-29). Chicago, MacIntyre (45-47). A---7,930. Referee---David Banfield. Linesmen---Judson Ritter and Jesse Pletsch.