ROSEMONT, Ill. – Zach O’Brien’s goal with 1:05 left in overtime lifted the Chicago Wolves to a 4-3 triumph over the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday night in a physical Illinois Lottery Cup game at Allstate Arena.
Forwards Jordan Caron, Eriah Hayes and Jeremy Welsh produced power-play goals during regulation for the Wolves (13-10-1-2). The IceHogs finished with 95 penalty minutes to Chicago’s 37.
“We’ve been playing harder and we’re not going to get pushed around,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “They’re a real physical team, too, so we’ve got to stand our ground if we’re going to make any waves in this league.”
For the second game in a row, Caron opened the scoring for the Wolves as he delivered a power-play goal 9:22 into the first period. Peter Harrold’s shot from the right circle was blocked by IceHogs goaltender Michael Leighton, but Caron was positioned right in front of him and backhanded the rebound top-shelf for a 1-0 Chicago lead.
Rockford (18-6-2-2) needed just seven seconds to respond. Jeremy Morin carried the puck into the high slot and rifled home a shot at 9:29 for a 1-1 tie.
Chicago answered with Hayes’ power-play goal at 12:31 for a 2-1 lead. Defenseman Jordan Schmaltz fired a shot from the high slot that was deflected into the left circle toward Hayes, who one-timed the rebound into the back of the net.
The Wolves produced their third power-play goal of the night on Welsh’s tally 1:02 into the third. Chris Butler set it up to give Chicago a 3-1 lead.
Rockford made it 3-3 with 3:03 left in regulation on Gustafsson’s unlikely goal. Morin fired from the left circle while Gustafsson tried to leap over the puck while skating through the slot. The puck clipped the back of Gustafsson’s skate and changed trajectory into the net.
O’Brien notched the game-winner with 1:05 left in overtime as Ivan Barbashev and Harrold set the table during 3-on-3 action. Harrold collected a pass in the left circle and put the puck on O’Brien’s stick just outside the crease for a quick redirect past Leighton.
Copley (7-6-1) stopped 33 shots to earn the win while Leighton (15-4-2) posted 34 saves in the loss.
The Wolves host the Manitoba Moose at 7 p.m. Monday night. It’s a special Craft Beer Night with a $22 ticket that includes a flight of Goose Island’s best. To purchase this or other top holiday specials, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.
WOLVES 4, ICEHOGS 3 (OT)
Rockford 1 0 2 0 — 3
Chicago 2 0 1 1 — 4
First Period—1, Chicago, Caron 9 (Harrold, Rattie), 9:22 pp; 2, Rockford, Morin 8 (Ross, Valleau), 9:29; 3, Chicago, Hayes 4 (Schmaltz, Butler), 12:31 pp. Penalties—Dano, Rockford (slashing), 7:22; Hartman, Rockford (slashing, roughing), 11:03; Beach, Chicago (roughing), 11:03; Morin, Rockford, (roughing), 13:14; Edmundson, Chicago (roughing), 13:14; Doty, Chicago (roughing), 13:14.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Dowell, Rockford (fighting), 0:55; Edmundson, Chicago (slashing, fighting), 0:55; DeSousa, Rockford (slashing, roughing), 8:48; Vaughan, Chicago (roughing), 8:48; Svedberg, Rockford (elbowing), 19:18; Veilleux, Chicago (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:18; Labrie, Rockford (roughing, 10-minute misconduct), 19:18.
Third Period—4, Chicago, Welsh 8 (Hayes, Butler), 1:02 pp; 5, Rockford, Schilling 1 (Gotovets, Hartman), 2:02; 6, Rockford, Gustafsson 3 (Morin, McNeill), 16:57 sh. Penalties—Dano, Rockford (roughing), 3:10; Asuchuk, Chicago (holding, roughing), 3:10; Hartman, Rockford (10-minute misconduct), 3:29; Caron, Chicago (10-minute misconduct), 3:29; Ross, Chicago (hooking, unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:57; Svedberg, Rockford (roughing), 16:29; Vaughan, Chicago (roughing), 16:29; Dano, Rockford (roughing double-minor), 16:29; Edmundson, Chicago (roughing), 16:29; Hartman, Rockford (roughing), 16:29; Cannone, Chicago (roughing), 16:29; Ross, Rockford (roughing), 16:29.
Overtime—7, Chicago, O’Brien 3 (Harrold, Barbashev), 3:55. Penalties—Dano, Rockford (slew-footing match penalty), 3:55; Gustafsson, Rockford (game misconduct), 3:55; Rockford bench (game misconduct), 3:55.
Shots on goal—Rockford 13-9-14-0—36; Chicago 14-4-15-5—38. Power plays—Rockford 0-3; Chicago 3-7. Goalies—Rockford, Leighton (34-38); Chicago, Copley (33-36). Referees—Cameron Voss. Linesmen—Ryan Daisy and Ian McCambridge.