ROCKFORD, Ill. — Center Keith Aucoin tied the score with four seconds left and four skaters scored in the shootout as the Chicago Wolves defeated the Rockford IceHogs 5-4 in Friday night’s Illinois Lottery Cup game at the Rockford MetroCentre.
Forwards Aucoin, Dmitrij Jaskin, Mark Mancari and Shane Harper tallied for the Wolves (28-16-3-2) in regulation, while Mancari and forwards Ty Rattie, Sebastian Wannstrom, and Alexandre Bolduc scored in the shootout.
Goaltender Jake Allen (21-11-2) kicked out 38 of 42 shots in regulation and overtime and another five in the eight-round shootout.
Action started early as Rockford (24-21-4-3) saw left wing Jeremy Morin and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck each bag goals in the first seven minutes of play.
Looking for a spark, the Wolves found it on the power play. Jaskin opened scoring for Chicago at 10:46 as he picked up the puck in the corner, cut inside toward the net, and rifled a shot past IceHogs goaltender Kent Simpson.
Mancari followed it up at 16:26 as the Wolves dug out of the two-goal deficit to take a tie into the first intermission. In a crowded crease, Mancari wrangled a rebound and scored on a low shot to knot the game 2-2.
The Wolves rode the momentum from the first period into the middle frame, scoring at 3:46 to take the lead. Harper streaked into the offensive zone and muscled to the net while holding off a Rockford defender, sending a shot on goal that deflected in.
The lead would not last as the IceHogs found the equalizer two minutes into the final period, one second after an expired power play that included 1:39 of 5-on-3 action. Defenseman Adam Clendening lasered a pass through the legs of a Wolves defender to set up center Brandon Pirri for the one-timer.
With 10:19 remaining, Chicago found itself once again facing a deficit. Center Mark McNeill forced a turnover in the Wolves zone and picked up his own rebound to score five-hole and boost the IceHogs up 4-3.
The Wolves rallied once again, this time with four seconds left and Allen on the bench, to tie the score and head to overtime. Mancari corralled a puck at the side of the net and backhanded a pass to the doorstep for Aucoin, who roofed it to guarantee the Wolves a point.
Allen denied five skaters in the shootout, surrendering goals to Pirri, center Joakim Nordstrom, and left wing Terry Broadhurst. Simpson (9-12-1) made 31 saves.
The Wolves return to Allstate Arena for an Amtrak Rivalry weekend series against the Milwaukee Admirals starting at 7 p.m. Saturday.
— Chicago Wolves