ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Chicago Wolves scored early and often on the way to a 6-0 triumph over Rockford in an Illinois Lottery Cup contest on Friday night at Allstate Arena.
Defenseman Joel Edmundson started the scoring at 5:09 of the first period and forwards Adam Cracknell, Keith Aucoin, Ty Rattie, Alexandre Bolduc and Pat Cannone followed suit as multiple fights marred the final 30 minutes. Jake Allen stopped 23 shots to earn his fifth shutout of the year.
“I was really happy how we responded,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson, whose team suffered a regulation loss and overtime loss to Texas last weekend. “I was pretty hard on them this week about a few things. Comparatively speaking, it was a major difference.”
The Wolves (36-19-5-2) opened the scoring when Keith Aucoin (2A) carried the puck into the zone and dropped it back to Cracknell at the top of the right circle. Cracknell spied Edmundson at the bottom of the left circle and delivered a diagonal pass that Edmundson gently one-timed past sliding Rockford goaltender Kent Simpson.
Aucoin and Cracknell teamed up to give the Wolves a 2-0 lead at 14:31 of the first after Sergey Andronov worked to free the puck in the offensive zone. Aucoin claimed it and zipped down the slot until he saw Cracknell flying down the right wing. Aucoin passed the puck ahead to Cracknell in stride and he buried it in the back of the net.
Chicago pushed the lead to 3-0 at 4:47 of the second on Rattie’s team-high 25th goal. Simpson blocked Bolduc’s blast from the right circle, but the rebound came out to Pat Cannone and he delivered a backhand pass to Rattie waiting in the left circle. Rattie fired it home before Simpson had a chance to move toward the other post.
The Wolves capitalized twice on a five-minute power play late in the second period to increase their lead to 5-0. Aucoin made it 4-0 at 16:48 when Simpson stopped a rocket by Mark Cundari and a rebound by Sergey Andronov, but didn’t have a chance on Aucoin’s top-shelf wrist shot from the lower left circle.
Bolduc tallied at 17:41 by going top-shelf over Simpson’s stick from the right circle. Mike Davies set him up after carrying the puck into the zone. Taylor Chorney also netted an assist on the play.
Cannone delivered at 15:17 of the third when Tyler Shattock flipped him a backhand pass into the slot and Cannone redirected it past Simpson’s glove. Nathan Longpre also earned an assist.
Allen (27-15-2) defeated Rockford for the fourth time this season and registered his league-leading 27th win. Simpson (9-14-1) posted 31 saves on 37 shots for the IceHogs (30-25-5-4).
The Wolves travel to Rockford for a 7 p.m. Illinois Lottery Cup game Saturday before returning to Allstate Arena for a 3 p.m. game Sunday against Grand Rapids. The Wolves host the first Rainbow Loom Expo from noon to 2 p.m. prior to the game.
–– Chicago Wolves