CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Stefan Matteau scored his second goal of the night 5:30 into overtime to give the Chicago Wolves a 4-3 win against the Charlotte Checkers in Game 1 of the American Hockey League's Calder Cup Finals on Saturday.
Chicago, the AHL affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights, is 4-0 in overtime in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is at Charlotte on Sunday (6 p.m. ET; NHLN).
After a failed Checkers clearing attempt, Matteau won the game with a snap shot from the left face-off circle that trickled between goalie Alex Nedeljkovic's pads.
"It's huge," Matteau said. "It's huge, but [Game 1 is] done, right? So we've got to get another one tomorrow."
Defensemen Zac Leslie and Zach Whitecloud scored in the second period for Chicago, which trailed 3-1 after the first.
Trevor Carrick, Martin Necas and Andrew Poturalski scored for the Checkers, the AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Wolves goalie Oscar Dansk made 35 saves. Nedeljkovic made 32, including 17 in the third period.
"Our mentality was to continue to shoot pucks," Chicago coach Rocky Thompson said.
The Wolves went 44-22-6-4 and led the Western Conference in points (98) for the second consecutive season. They eliminated Grand Rapids (Detroit Red Wings) and Iowa (Minnesota Wild) before defeating San Diego (Anaheim Ducks) in six games in the Western Conference Final.
Charlotte went 51-17-7-1 to lead the AHL in wins and points (110) in the regular season. It eliminated Providence (Boston Bruins) and Hershey (Washington Capitals) before defeating defending Calder Cup champion Toronto (Toronto Maple Leafs) in six games in the Eastern Conference Final.
"We're in the [final round]," Checkers coach Mike Vellucci said. "This isn't the end of the world. We lost one game, and it was in overtime to a very good team."
Charlotte took a 1-0 lead 2:19 into the game on a long shot from Carrick.
Matteau scored at 5:54 to tie it 1-1.
Necas gave Charlotte a 2-1 lead at 15:47, and Poturalski scored at 19:03 to make it 3-1.
Leslie got Chicago to within 3-2 at 11:27 of the second with a shot through traffic that slipped past Nedeljkovic. With six seconds left in the period, Whitecloud's slap shot, again through traffic in front of the Charlotte net, tied it 3-3.
Whitecloud, a 22-year-old rookie, leads defensemen in the AHL playoffs with 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 18 games.
Chicago's Tye McGinn had a breakaway early in the third period, but Nedeljkovic stretched to make the save with his left pad.
Photo courtesy of Jacob Kupferman/AHL