ROCKFORD, Ill. — The Chicago Wolves power-play unit produced multiple goals for the second time this season, but those markers weren’t enough to prevent a 3-2 defeat by the Rockford IceHogs on Thursday night at the MetroCentre.
Center Andrew Ebbett and left wing Brett Sterling delivered power-play strikes for the Wolves (13-10-3-1). Right wing Zack Kassian set up both scores while goaltender Matt Climie, making his 10th start in a row for Chicago, recorded 36 saves.
The Wolves opened fast by taking advantage of their first power-play opportunity at 3:22 of the first period. Kassian accepted a Darren Haydar pass below the goal line and backhanded a pass to Ebbett, who flashed in front of the crease and slid the puck between Rockford goaltender Carter Hutton’s legs.
The IceHogs (16-13-1-1) answered at 5:51 of the first when Rob Flick tapped in a rebound. Rockford center Martin St. Pierre set it up when he stole the puck in the neutral zone and cruised toward the net for a shot that Climie stopped.
Rockford took a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal at the 4:40 mark of the second period. Nick Leddy fired a wrister from just above the left circle and Andrew Shaw redirected the puck into the net.
The Wolves evened it up with Sterling’s power-play tally at 15:54 of the second. Similar to the team’s first score, Kassian’s backhand pass from below the goal line set up the play. Sterling secured the puck inside the right circle and directed it past Hutton’s right skate for his team-high ninth goal of the season.
The IceHogs regained the lead at the 18:00 mark when Climie allowed a long rebound on Leddy’s shot from the far faceoff circle. St. Pierre scooped up the puck, carried it in and wristed it past Climie’s stick.
Climie (6-9-0) stopped 36 shots for the Wolves, including Shaw’s penalty shot at 4:52 of the first period. Hutton (12-11-1) got the win with 23 saves.
The Wolves wrap up the 2012 portion of their schedule with a pair of weekend home games against the Abbotsford Heat. The Wolves and Heat meet at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Allstate Arena.
– The Chicago Wolves