ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Chicago Wolves managed a season-low 15 shots as they fell 3-1 to the Rockford IceHogs on Friday night in Illinois Lottery Cup action at the MetroCentre.
Right wing Cody Beach scored the lone goal for the Wolves (9-4-1-1), who missed a chance to regain first place in the American Hockey League’s Central Division. Chicago entered the game averaging a league-best 9.9 penalty minutes per game, but was assessed 72 penalty minutes Friday.
Rockford (12-4-1-2) opened the scoring at 13:49 of the first on Jeremy Morin’s shot from the goal line to the right of Wolves goaltender Jordan Binnington. The IceHogs’ first two attempts on the rush were parried by Binnington, but Morin zipped the puck toward the goal and banked it off Binnington’s skate into the goal as he slid toward the post to cut off the angle.
Chicago pulled even on Beach’s one-timer at 4:45 of the second. Spencer Asuchak and Jacob Doty battled for possession below the goal line and Doty claimed it along the right wall. Doty’s backhand pass set up Beach for a quick rocket from the top of the right circle that went between Rockford goaltender Michael Leighton’s skates.
Rockford took the lead for good at 8:03 of the second on Bryan Bickell’s fifth goal of the season. He accepted a pass from Jake Dowell in the neutral zone, zigzagged into the high slot and launched a blast past a screened Binnington.
The IceHogs pushed their margin to 3-1 on defenseman Ville Pokka’s power-play goal from the right circle at 15:13 of the second.
Rockford goaltender Michael Leighton (11-3-1) posted 14 saves to earn the win. Binnington (6-2-1) stopped 31 shots.
Join the Wolves at Allstate Arena this weekend as they host the San Antonio Rampage at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. To purchase holiday flex packs that include two bonus ticket vouchers and several holiday gifts, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.
ICEHOGS 3, WOLVES 1
Chicago 0 1 0 — 1
Rockford 1 2 0 — 3
First Period—1, Rockford, Morin 5 (Rasmussen, Robertson), 13:49. Penalties—Brittain, Rockford (slashing), 3:04; Valleau, Rockford (holding), 6:55; Caron, Chicago (roughing) 8:20; Svedberg, Rockford (roughing) 8:20; DeSousa, Rockford (fighting), 19:01; Hodgman, Chicago (fighting), 19:01.
Second Period—2, Chicago, Beach 2 (Doty, Asuchak), 4:45; 3, Rockford, Bickell 5 (Dowell), 8:03; 4, Rockford, Pokka 3 (Rasmussen, Gustafsson), 15:13 pp. Penalties—Svedberg, Rockford (fighting), 11:42; Veilleux, Chicago (fighting), 11:42; Beach, Chicago (fighting), 12:02; Robertson, Rockford (fighting), 12:02; Barbashev, Chicago (high-sticking double-minor), 14:23; Hartman, Rockford (tripping), 18:00; Binnington, Chicago (delay of game — restricted area, served by Rattie), 18:30.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Abeltshauser, Chicago (tripping), 0:17; Benoit, Chicago (unsportsmanlike conduct — 10-minute misconduct), 0:17; Brittain, Rockford (fighting), 5:07; Beach, Chicago (unsportsmanlike conduct — 10-minute misconduct) 5:07; Doty, Chicago (fighting, continuing altercation — 10-minute misconduct), 5:07; Caron, Chicago (10-minute misconduct), 8:17; Asuchak, Chicago (cross-checking), 9:03; Labrie, Rockford (hooking), 13:21.
Shots on goal—Chicago 4-7-4—15; Rockford 10-13-11—34. Power plays—Chicago 0-4; Rockford 1-5. Goalies—Chicago, Binnington (31-34); Rockford, Leighton (14-15). Referee—Tim Mayer. Linesmen—Ryan Daisy and William Hancock.