ROCKFORD, Ill. – Chicago fell behind early and couldn’t recover in falling to Rockford, 5-2, in an Illinois Lottery Cup game held Tuesday at the MetroCentre.
Chicago (16-16-1-2) scored twice on the power play on goals from centers Jeremy Welsh and Ivan Barbashev.
Rockford (22-9-2-3) opened scoring on an even-strength goal from Ryan Haggerty at 5:17 of the first period. Positioned near the crease, Haggerty deflected a low shot that snuck inside the left post. The IceHogs struck again at 8:41 on the power play when defensemen Viktor Svedberg ripped a slapshot from the top of the slot for his first goal of the season.
The Wolves cut the deficit in half before the period ended. Working with a two-man advantage on the power play, Andre Benoit launched a shot on goal that was directed in front by Welsh. Danny Kristo also picked up an assist on the play.
Rockford reclaimed a two-goal cushion midway through the second period as Pierre-Cededric Labrie skated in alone on goaltender Pheonix Copley and placed a shot between his pads at the 10:33 mark. The Wolves crept closer when Barbashev redirected a shot on the doorstep just 2:56 into the third period.
The Central Division-leading Ice Hogs scored twice in the final minutes to seal the win. Garret Ross scored on an empty net at 18:46 and Tanner Kero stuffed in a shot at 19:21.
Copley (8-10-1) finished with 28 saves while counterpart Leighton (18-4-3) stopped 24 shots.
The Wolves return to Allstate Arena to face the Iowa Wild Friday (Jan. 15) at 7 p.m. To find the best ticket deals, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.
ICE HOGS 5, WOLVES 2
Chicago 1 0 1 — 2
Rockford 2 1 2 — 5
First Period—1, Rockford, Haggerty 5 (Ross), 5:17; 2, Rockford, Svedberg 1 (Hartman, McNeill), 8:41, pp; 3, Chicago, Welsh 10 (Benoit, Kristo), 14:23, pp. Penalties—Kristo, Chicago (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:34; McNeill, Rockford (interference), 12:32; Gotovets, Rockford (delay of game), 13:01; Ross, Rockford (slashing), 17:42.
Second Period—4, Rockford, Labrie 11 (Haggerty), 10:33. Penalties—DeSousa, Rockford (roughing), 10:56; Cannone, Chicago (roughing), 17:31; Labrie, Rockford (roughing), 17:31; Schmaltz, Chicago (high sticking), 18:34.
Third Period–5, Chicago, Barbashev 7 (Lindbohm, Cannone), 2:56, pp.; 6, Rockford, Ross 6 (unassisted), 18:46, en; 7, Rockford, Kero 7 (Hinostroza, Hartman), 19:21. Penalties—Veillieux, Chicago (fighting), 1:53; Dowell, Rockford (fighting), 1:53; Haggerty, Rockford (slashing), 2:29.
Shots on goal—Chicago 7-8-11—26; Rockford 10-11-11—32. Power plays—Chicago 2-5; Rockford 1-2. Goalies—Chicago, Copley (28-32); Rockford, Leighton (24-26). Referees—Peter Tarnaris and Jarrod Raguslin. Linesmen—Ryan Daisy and William Hancock.