ROSEMONT, Ill. – All-Star defenseman Andre Benoit scored 1:02 into overtime to give the Chicago Wolves a 3-2 victory over the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday night in an Illinois Lottery Cup contest at Allstate Arena. Rookie forward Ivan Barbashev and Zach O’Brien scored in regulation for the Wolves (21-19-1-2), who claimed the 2 points when Benoit’s blast from the high slot beat Rockford goaltender Michael Leighton on the glove side. Ty Rattie posted 2 assists for Chicago.
“It was awesome,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “And Rattie made a great play. He held on to it and gave him enough time to catch up to the pass. It was a great shot. To beat Leighton like that on a 30-foot wrist shot is a pretty good shot.”
The Wolves opened the scoring just 45 seconds into the game as Barbashev accepted a long pass from Rattie, raced in and launched a blast over Rockford goaltender Michael Leighton’s glove for a 1-0 lead.
The IceHogs (27-10-3-4) pulled even at 8:38 of the second period on Tanner Kero’s wrister from along the right boards that hit a Wolves stick on the way to the net. Vinnie Hinostroza and Bryan Bickell picked up assists.
Rockford took a 2-1 advantage at 9:45 of the third on Ryan Hartman’s power-play goal. Wolves goaltender Pheonix Copley rebuffed Marko Dano’s blast from the point, but the rebound went directly to Hartman’s stick for a quick follow-up.
The Wolves erased the deficit on O’Brien’s goal with 5:28 to play. Defenseman Richard Nedomlel ringed a pass behind the net to Eriah Hayes, who fed the puck to O’Brien in the slot. He settled it and placed a backhand over Leighton’s left shoulder to make it 2-2.
Benoit’s goal gave the Wolves a big boost heading into the All-Star Break. Benoit and center Pat Cannone will represent the Wolves during the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic on Sunday and Monday in Syracuse, N.Y.
Copley (11-11-1) stopped 25 of 27 shots to earn the victory. Leighton (23-4-5) posted 24 saves in the loss.
The Wolves hit the road to start the second half Friday at Iowa. The team returns home on Saturday, Feb. 6, to face the Iowa Wild on Military Appreciation Night, presented by Sears Home Services. To get the best deals on group tickets, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.
WOLVES 3, ICEHOGS 2 (OT)
Rockford 0 1 1 0 — 2
Chicago 1 0 1 1 — 3
First Period—1, Chicago, Barbashev 8 (Rattie), 0:45. Penalties—Copley, Chicago (delay of game, served by Doty), 2:57; Hinostroza, Rockford (cross-checking), 13:09; Svedberg, Rockford (high-sticking), 15:16.
Second Period—2, Rockford, Kero 10 (Hinostroza, Bickell), 8:38. Penalties—DeSousa, Rockford (high-sticking), 16:14.
Third Period—3, Rockford, Hartman 11 (Dano, McNeill), 9:45 pp; 4, Chicago, O’Brien 6 (Hayes, Nedomlel), 14:32. Penalties—Hartman, Rockford (interference), 5:12; Welsh, Chicago (hooking), 8:33.
Overtime—5, Chicago, Benoit 5 (Rattie, Barbashev), 1:02. Penalties—None.
Shots on goal—Rockford 6-8-12-1—27; Chicago 10-10-5-2—27. Power plays—Rockford 1-2; Chicago 0-4. Goalies—Rockford, Leighton (24-27); Chicago, Copley (25-27). Referees—Alex Garon and Ryan Hersey. Linesmen—John Grandt and Ryan Daisy.