ROCKFORD, Ill. — Goaltender Matt Climie kicked out 31 shots and three of five in the shootout, but the Chicago Wolves ultimately fell to the Rockford IceHogs 2-1 in the extra session in Saturday night’s Illinois Lottery Cup game at the MetroCentre.
Right wing Cody Beach scored the lone regulation goal for the Wolves during the second period and center Keith Aucoin had the only successful shootout attempt. Climie moved to 7-9-1 in one of his best performances of the season.
The Wolves (36-19-5-3) could not muster the same offensive output that they had in Friday night’s 6-0 win over Rockford, but they did open scoring in the second period following a scoreless first frame.
After sustained pressure during the period, Beach was sprung on a breakaway by forward Nathan Longpre and defenseman Brett Ponich (suited up for his first Wolves game since October 29). Beach whipped a shot on net that deflected in off the far post to beat Rockford goaltender Jason LaBarbera at 13:50.
The lead would not last to the third period as the IceHogs (31-25-5-4) got on the board with 42 seconds remaining in the middle frame. Defenseman Adam Clendening rifled a shot from the point that was tipped in front by center Brad Mills to knot the score 1-1.
Chicago could not tally on two late power plays in the third period as the game extended into overtime and then a shootout. Left wing Garrett Ross and center Pierre-Marc Bouchard converted in the third and fourth rounds of the shootout, respectively, to seal Rockford’s win.
LaBarbera (13-9-3) kicked out 35 of 36 Wolves shots through regulation and overtime and four of five shootout attempts.
The Wolves return to Allstate Arena at 3 p.m. Sunday against Grand Rapids. The Wolves host the first Rainbow Loom Expo from noon to 2 p.m. prior to the game.