ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs traded goals for two periods, but Mark Mancari bagged two third-period markers in 57 seconds to give the Wolves a 4-2 Illinois Lottery Cup victory in their third “School Day Game” Wednesday afternoon at the Allstate Arena.
Forwards Michael Davies and Victor Oreskovich also scored for Chicago, which won for the eighth time in its last nine home games and moved within one point of first place in the Midwest Division.
“Mancari had a great game today, especially in the third period,” said Wolves Head Coach Craig MacTavish. “He showed a lot of leadership and his two goals were a direct result of hustle.”
With Chicago and Rockford deadlocked at 2-2 after 40 minutes of play, the Wolves grabbed control of the game with Mancari’s two markers in the third period.
Chicago (20-12-1-3) broke the tie at 9:37 of the final frame when Mancari stripped an IceHogs defender of the puck at the side of the net and stuffed it between the post and the outstretched pads of Rockford goaltender Alec Richards.
Mancari gave the Wolves a 4-2 advantage just 57 seconds later. Forward Nathan Longpre’s shot from the top of the crease was kicked away by Richards, but Mancari scooped up the rebound and slid the puck through the crease as it trickled over the goal line at 10:34. That gave Mancari 12 goals in his last 11 appearances with the Wolves.
Chicago opened scoring on the power play when Davies collected a loose puck in the high slot and snapped a shot that deflected off the leg of a Rockford defender and over Richards’ stick.
Rockford (13-20-1-3) tied the score just 1:18 later. Left wing Jeremy Morin and center Brandon Pirri skated in on a two-on-one break and Pirri slid a pass across the slot to Morin, who one-timed a shot past Wolves goaltender Matt Climie.
The Wolves jumped ahead 2-1 at 14:29 of the opening frame. Defensemen Adam Polasek and Ryan Parent each swatted at a bouncing puck in the slot and Richards blocked Parent’s shot, but the rebound laid in the crease and Oreskovich tapped it into an empty net.
Richards (6-11-2) finished with 23 saves.
The IceHogs tied the score with Morin’s second goal of the night. Right wing Chris DiDomenico’s shot from the slot bounced off the back boards and right to Morin at the side of the crease. He deposited the puck into an empty net at 7:04 of the second stanza.
Climie (11-5-0) thwarted 26 shots to win for the fifth time in his last six starts.
Chicago continues its season-high six-game homestand with a pair of games this weekend, starting with an Amtrak Rivalry contest against the Milwaukee Admirals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Allstate Arena.
Rockford 1 1 0 — 2
Chicago 2 0 2 — 4
First Period—1, Chicago, Davies 1 (Schroeder), 11:09 pp; 2, Rockford, Morin 7 (Pirri, Connelly), 11:09; 3, Chicago, Oreskovich 7 (Parent, Polasek), 14:29. Penalties—Testwuide, Chicago (roughing), 3:14; Baumgartner, Chicago (hooking), 4:28; Bollig, Rockford (fighting), 6:44; Clackson, Chicago (fighting), 6:44; DiDomenico, Rockford (slashing), 8:29; Connelly, Rockford (holding), 11:48; Testwuide, Chicago (holding), 17:59.
Second Period—4, Rockford, Morin 8 (DiDomenico, Pirri), 7:04. Penalties—Fahey, Rockford (tripping), 8:20; Fahey, Rockford (elbowing), 18:02; Segal, Rockford (cross-checking), 19:48.
Third Period—5, Chicago, Mancari 15 (Reinprecht), 9:37; 6, Chicago, Mancari 16 (Longpre, Sauve), 10:34. Penalties—Connauton, Chicago (interference), 0:20; Froese, Rockford (slashing), 1:36; Connelly, Rockford (slashing), 5:34.
Shots on goal—Rockford: 15-6-7–28. Chicago: 7-9-11–27. Power plays—Rockford: 0-3. Chicago: 1-7. Goalies—Rockford, Richards (23-27). Chicago, Climie (26-28). A—6,113. Referees—Darcy Burchell and Keith Kaval. Linesmen—Mathieu Chenier and Matt MacPherson.