ROSEMONT, Ill. – Chicago Wolves forward Jeremy Welsh’s third-period goal forced extra time Saturday night, but the Rockford IceHogs recovered for a 3-2 shootout win before 15,225 fans in an Illinois Lottery Cup game at Allstate Arena.
Forward Magnus Paajarvi also scored for the Wolves (19-15-4-1), who outshot the IceHogs 44-21 during regulation and seven minutes of overtime.
“It was night and day,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson when comparing his team’s effort on Saturday vs. its effort in Friday’s 5-1 loss to Lake Erie. “At least I know that our room has heart. What happened (Friday) night was unacceptable as a coach. Now we’ve just got to get that kind of effort – and that’s my job – every game. I’m very proud of how they played tonight.”
The Wolves opened the scoring 6:14 into the night when Paajarvi anticipated a Rockford defenseman’s pass in the IceHogs zone, intercepted it in the left circle and quickly flicked the puck between goaltender Michael Leighton’s legs for his first goal with the Wolves.
Rockford (23-14-4-2) made it 1-1 at 8:03 on Ryan Hartman’s power-play goal. Hartman accepted a pass at the blue line from Peter Regin and raced in unimpeded for a forehand flip past Wolves goaltender Jordan Binnington.
The IceHogs took their first lead 4:27 into the second period as Phillip Danault set up Mark McNeill for a one-timer from the high slot. McNeill’s blast eluded Binnington’s blocker.
Chicago pulled even at 11:38 of the third period on Welsh’s power-play goal. Philip McRae blasted a shot from the high slot that Leighton blocked, but Welsh was on the doorstep to control the rebound and lift a backhand into the net.
Rockford defenseman T.J. Brennan recorded the lone tally in the shootout. Leighton (10-7-4) posted 42 saves to pick up the win. Binnington (10-6-2) rejected 19 shots during regulation and overtime.