Rosemont, Ill. — The Chicago Wolves carried a one-goal lead into the third period, but Rockford countered with a pair of power-play goals to send the Wolves to a 4-2 defeat Wednesday night in Illinois Lottery Cup action at Allstate Arena.
Right wing Zack Kassian and center Jordan Schroeder produced goals for the Wolves, who lost for the sixth time in their last seven outings. Chicago had won the first three meetings with the IceHogs this season.
“We did the right things early and got off to a 2-0 start,” said Wolves head coach Scott Arniel. “But then we just shot ourselves in the foot and took too many penalties in the third and it cost us.”
The Wolves (8-7-2-1) jumped ahead 1-0 just 1:13 into the game as center Andrew Ebbett claimed a puck along the boards and saucered it toward the slot, where Kassian picked it up and flung it between Rockford goaltender Carter Hutton’s skates for his sixth goal of the season. Darren Haydar also picked up an assist.
Chicago pushed its lead to 2-0 on Schroeder’s goal at 13:48 of the second period exactly as a Rockford penalty expired. Kevin Connauton tapped a backhand pass toward Brett Sterling near the goal line. Sterling zipped a pass across the crease to Schroeder, who tapped home his seventh goal of the year before Hutton could slide to his right.
Rockford (10-9-0-1) got on the board at 14:55 of the second as Brandon Saad split a seam with a pass that hit Martin St. Pierre in stride. Rockford’s captain one-timed his shot for his fifth goal of the season.
The IceHogs made it 2-2 at 4:59 of the third period on Jeremy Morin’s power-play goal. Morin took a short backhand pass from Saad just outside the crease and steered it past Wolves goaltender Matt Climie’s left skate.
Rockford took a 3-2 lead at 7:12 of the third as right wing Ben Smith set up in front of Climie and tipped Brett Lebda’s long blast for a power-play score. Andrew Shaw added an empty-net goal with 32.5 seconds to play.
Climie (1-5-0) earned 38 saves, a team season-high, for the Wolves. Hutton (6-7-1) posted 35 saves to pick up the win.
The Wolves return to action Friday for a 7 p.m. Amtrak Rivalry game at Milwaukee. The Wolves wrap up the weekend with a 7 p.m. Saturday home game with Peoria. For tickets to this Illinois Lottery Cup contest at Allstate Arena, call 1-800-THE-WOLVES or visit ChicagoWolves.com.
Rockford 0 1 3 — 4
Chicago 1 1 0 — 2
First Period—1, Kassian 6 (Ebbett, Haydar), 1:13. Penalties— Lalonde, Rockford (fighting), 1:40; Archibald, Chicago (fighting), 1:40; Blain, Chicago (cross-checking), 2:08; Miller, Chicago (hooking), 13:37; Beach, Rockford (fighting), 16:25; Kassian, Chicago (fighting), 16;25; Morin, Rockford (hooking), 17:56.
Second Period—2, Chicago, Schroeder 7 (Sterling, Connauton), 13:48; 3, Rockford, St. Pierre 5 (Saad), 14:55. Penalties—Pirri, Rockford (hooking), 4:34; Beach, Rockford (slashing), 8:32; Paradis, Rockford (boarding, fighting), 11:48; Miskovic, Chicago (fighting), 11:48; Shaw, Rockford (boarding), 15:45; Kassian, Chicago (holding), 19:29; Connauton, Chicago (delay of game), 19:34.
Third Period—4, Rockford, Morin 8 (Saad, Clendening), 4:59 pp; 5, Rockford, Smith 7 (Lebda, Lalonde), 7:12 pp; 6, Rockford, Shaw 5 (unassisted), 19:27 en. Penalties—Connauton, Chicago (interference), 4:25; Tanev, Chicago (high-sticking), 5:48; Kassian, Chicago (slashing), 11:48.
Shots on goal—Rockford: 15-10-17—42; Chicago: 11-18-8—37. Power plays—Rockford 2-7; Chicago 0-5. Goalies—Rockford, Hutton (35-37), Chicago, Climie (38-41). A—5,620. Referee—Trent Knorr. Linesmen—Aaron Mills and Alex Stagnone.