ROCKFORD, Ill. — The Chicago Wolves put up a fight in the third period but could not complete the rally as they fell 2-1 to Rockford in Friday night’s Illinois Lottery Cup game at the Rockford MetroCentre.
Left wing Chris Porter scored the lone tally for the Wolves (29-17-4-2) in the third period. Goaltender Jake Allen (22-12-2) made 30 saves, including several key stops in the final frame, but the Wolves failed to earn at least one point for the first time in nine games.
Following a scoreless first period, the IceHogs (27-21-4-3) broke the game open with a tally at 13:55. Left wing Jeremy Morin dished a pass to the front of the net from just below the faceoff circle, connecting with center Brandon Pirri as he finished off the play with a tip-in.
Rockford struck again, this time on the man advantage, minutes later for the 2-0 lead. Allen made the initial save, but was not able to freeze play as left wing Garret Ross crashed the crease, found the puck and backhanded it five-hole at 15:28.
Thirty seconds after serving his delay of game penalty in the third period, Porter found redemption by getting the Wolves on the board at 7:06. Porter finished off the final leg of a tic-tac-toe play with right wing Mark Mancari and defenseman Evan Oberg, beating IceHogs goaltender Jason LaBarbera to make it 2-1.
The Wolves amped up the pace in the final minutes of the game, but could not reproduce the late-game heroics of their most recent meeting with Rockford to send it to extra time.
LaBarbera (9-6-2) made 21 saves to earn the win.
The Wolves return to Allstate Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday to kick off a weekend doubleheader against Abbotsford.