Center Matt Anderson led the Wolves with three assists, while right wing Joey Crabb bagged two goals. Defensemen Arturs Kulda (G, A) and Nathan Oystrick (2A) also posted multiple points for the Wolves, who got goals from five different players.
“Overall, I like the way we competed,” said Wolves Head Coach Don Lever. “We allowed more goals than I would like, but our power play worked and we competed for a solid 60-minutes. That’s what’s most important to me.”
Chicago (1-0) drew first blood, 2:07 into the game with a power-play marker from right wing Anthony Stewart. Anderson controlled the puck behind the net and chipped it out to Stewart on the doorstep for a quick flick past Admirals goaltender Mark Dekanich.
The Wolves made their lead 2-0, 6:53 into the first period with a second power-play marker. Anderson sent the puck down to Oystrick from high in the zone and the blueliner took a shot from the right corner of the net. Dekanich coughed up the rebound and Crabb was there to knock it back into the empty left side of the net.
Chicago pulled ahead, 3-0, with a goal from captain Jason Krog at 11:08 of the opening frame when he managed to knock the puck out of the air in front of the net, angling it past Dekanich.
Milwaukee (0-1) got on the board at 16:46 of the first period. Right wing Chris Mueller fired a shot from the slot, which ricocheted off a Wolves player’s stick and center Mike Santorelli streaked in and pushed the puck past Chicago netminder Peter Mannino.
The Admirals cut their deficit to one, 3-2, with a power-play marker from Ryan Maki with 18 seconds remaining in the first period. Center Marty Murray carried the puck into the Wolves zone and slid it to Maki, who drove into the crease and roofed a backhanded shot up under the crossbar.
Kulda increased Chicago’s lead to 4-2 at 11:17 of the second period when his slapshot from the blueline bounced off an Admirals player, hit traffic in front of the net and then skipped past Dekanich.
The Admirals pulled back within one, 4-3, at 13:45 of the middle frame. Right wing Andreas Thuresson controlled the puck in the left corner and shipped a pass to defenseman Jonathan Blum alone in the slot. Blum wound up and sent a shot straight past Mannino.
Crabb bagged his second of the game, 1:28 into the third period to give the Wolves a 5-3 advantage. The right wing took a pass from Anderson near the slot and pushed a shot forward, which a Milwaukee skater got his stick on, causing the puck to flip up high in the air and land in the back of the net, near the far post.
The Wolves kept rolling to make it 6-3 at 3:42 of the final frame with a marker from Kevin Doell. Right wing Spencer Machacek slipped a shot to a streaking Doell near the goal mouth and the center popped it past Dekanich.
Dekanich (0-1) posted 29 saves on 35 shots for Milwaukee.
Santorelli pulled Milwaukee back into the game, 6-4, when the rebound from a Blum shot bounced straight out onto his stick and he fought off a Wolves defenseman to push it past Mannino at 14:30 of the final frame.
A diving Ben Guite managed to beat Mannino to a rebound in the midst of a scrum in front of the net and pushed the puck over the line to put Milwaukee within striking distance, 6-5, with just 81 seconds remaining in the game, but the Wolves were able to hold off the equalizer.
Peter Mannino (1-0) held off 23 of the 28 Admirals shots to collect his first win of the postseason.
The Wolves host Game 2 of the West Division Semifinal at the Allstate Arena on Fri., April 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Milwaukee 2 1 2 -- 5
Chicago 3 1 2 -- 6
First Period---1, Chicago, Stewart 1 (Anderson, Postma), 2:07 pp; 2, Chicago, Crabb 1 (Oystrick, Anderson), 6:53 pp; 3, Chicago, Krog 1 (Vishnevksiy, Oystrick), 11:08; 4, Milwaukee, Mike Santorelli 1 (Mueller, Thuresson), 16:46; 5, Milwaukee, Maki 1 (Murray, Laakso), 19:42 pp. Penalties---Bench, Milwaukee (too many men), 0:17; Laakso, Milwaukee (delay of game), 2:37; Thuresson, Milwaukee (tripping), 3:22; Thuresson, Milwaukee (roughing), 6:03; G. Stewart, Chicago (hooking), 18:07.
Second Period---5, Chicago, Kulda 1 (Sterling, Pohl), 11:17; 6, Milwaukee, Blum 1 (Thuresson, Mark Santorelli), 13:45. Penalties---Thuresson, Milwaukee (high-sticking), 0:57; Oystrick, Chicago (cross-checking), 7:49; Thuresson, Milwaukee (cross-checking), 8:42.
Third Period---8, Chicago, Crabb 2 (Anderson, Stapleton), 1:28; 9, Chicago, Doell 1 (Machacek, Kulda), 3:42; 10, Milwaukee, Mike Santorelli 2 (Blum, Thuresson), 14:30; 11, Milwaukee, Guite 1 (Dietrich, Murray), 18:39. Penalties---Thang, Milwaukee (holding), 3:59; Anderson, Chicago (tripping), 8:11; Bench, Chicago (too many men), 15:27.
Shots on goal---Milwaukee: 7-9-10--26. Chicago: 17-10-8--35. Power plays---Milwaukee: 1-4. Chicago: 2-7. Goalies---Milwaukee, Dekanich (29-35). Chicago, Mannino (23-28). A---3,927. Referee---David Banfield. Linesmen---Peter Cichy and Aaron Mills.