Rosemont, Ill.—The Chicago Wolves reeled off three third-period goals to earn a 4-2 victory over Rockford in an Illinois Lottery Cup contest Sunday afternoon before 11,535 at Allstate Arena.
Center Alexandre Bolduc produced his fourth two-goal game of the year and Michael Davies and Tyler Shattock added scores for the Wolves (42-21-5-5), who remained within 4 points of Grand Rapids for first place in the Midwest Division.
Wolves goaltender Jake Allen stopped 24 of 26 shots to earn his AHL-leading 32nd win as Chicago’s magic number for home-ice advantage in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs dropped to 1.
“We had [Bolduc] stepping up. We had [Shattock] blocking shots and our other guys stepped it up another notch too,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “Hopefully that’s a sign of a championship team.”
Rockford (34-31-5-4) opened the scoring at 13:10 when Adam Clendening fired a puck to the crease from the corner. Brandon Mashinter tipped the puck toward the net and it stopped on the goal line between Allen’s legs before Alex Broadhurst skated in and tapped the puck across the line.
The Wolves pulled even on Bolduc’s power-play strike at 3:07 of the second. Allen rifled a pass from just outside of his crease to Bolduc waiting at the far blue line. Bolduc delivered a cross-ice pass to Pat Cannone, who sent it back to Bolduc for a one-timer over Rockford goaltender Jason LaBarbera’s glove. Allen earned his first assist of the season on the play.
Davies gave the Wolves a 2-1 lead at 10:19 of the third as Cannone claimed the puck along the near boards and cycled it behind the net to Shane Harper, who fed it to Davies waiting just outside the crease to tuck it past LaBarbera.
Shattock pushed the lead to 3-1 at 11:44 when Yannick Veilleux intercepted LaBarbera’s clearing attempt behind the net and centered it to Shattock, who buried the shot before LaBarbera could return home.
Broadhurst earned his second goal of the night with 5:50 to play as Clendening’s shot from the point bounced from Allen’s pads to Broadhurst’s stick for an unchallenged goal on the rebound.
LaBarbera (15-15-3) stopped 21 of 24 shots for the IceHogs, who moved to the brink of elimination from the playoff chase.