ROSEMONT, Ill. – Rockford’s Tanner Kero was credited with the go-ahead goal with 5:08 to play as the Chicago Wolves fell 4-2 to the IceHogs in an Illinois Lottery Cup clash on Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
Forwards Dmitrij Jaskin and Danny Kristo scored for the Wolves (23-23-3-2). Dennis Robertson, Ryan Haggerty and Dane Walters also scored for Rockford (29-13-5-4), which clinched the Illinois Lottery Cup trophy that goes to the team that wins the Wolves-IceHogs season series.
“We played a good game,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “It was just a bad bounce, the last goal. What are you going to do? We’ve got to stay the course and hope the hockey gods treat us better down the road.”
Rockford opened the scoring 1:09 into the game as Robertson wristed a shot from the left point that deflected off a Wolves player in traffic and eluded goaltender Pheonix Copley’s blocker.
The Wolves answered with Jaskin’s power-play goal at 5:14 of the first. Goaltender Michael Leighton stopped Jeremy Welsh’s wrister from the left circle, but Emerson Clark corralled the rebound along the goal line and fed it to Jaskin for a well-placed wrister from the right circle.
Rockford took a 2-1 lead on Haggerty’s goal 14:57 into the first. He battled for position just outside the crease, intercepted teammate Jonathan Carlsson’s shot from the right circle and flicked it home.
Chicago responded with Kristo’s power-play goal at 7:41 of the second. Defenseman Jordan Schmaltz hustled the puck up the ice and fed Kristo in the high slot for a snapper that became his team-high 18th goal.
Rockford seized a 3-2 edge with 5:08 to play when Kirill Gotovets’ shot from along the right half-wall headed toward Kero and Chicago defenseman Jeremie Blain as they battled for position just outside the crease. The puck hit their upper bodies, fell to the ice and bounced under Copley’s left leg for the goal.
Walters added an empty-net goal from center ice with 28.2 seconds left to clinch the game. Copley (11-12-2) stopped 36 of 39 shots while Leighton (25-6-7) notched 26 saves.
The Wolves host the Charlotte Checkers at 3 p.m. Sunday for a Central Division clash with playoff implications. To get the best deals on tickets, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.
ICEHOGS 4, WOLVES 2
Rockford 2 0 2 — 4
Chicago 1 1 0 — 2
First Period—1, Rockford, Robertson 2 (Bickell, Baun), 1:09; 2, Chicago, Jaskin 2 (Clark, Welsh), 5:14 pp; 3, Rockford, Haggerty 6 (Carlsson, Walters), 14:57.
Penalties—Hartman, Rockford (hooking), 3:30; Cannone, Chicago (illegal check to the head) 7:40; Nedomlel, Chicago (interference), 10:12; Cannone, Chicago (slashing), 12:27; Clark, Chicago (charging, fighting), 15:27; Liambas, Rockford (fighting, instigating, misconduct for instigating), 15:27; Doty, Chicago (unsportsmanlike conduct, misconduct), 15:27; Gotovets, Rockford (unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:27.
Second Period—4, Chicago, Kristo 18 (Schmaltz, Butler), 7:41 pp. Penalties—Pokka, Rockford (interference), 7:00; Veilleux, Chicago (tripping), 8:47; Caron, Chicago (tripping), 13:40.
Third Period—5, Rockford, Kero 13 (Gotovets, Schilling), 14:52; 6, Rockford, Walters 2 (Schilling, Ross), 19:31 en. Penalties—Blain, Chicago (hooking), 9:49.
Shots on goal—Rockford 21-10-9—40; Chicago 9-8-11—28. Power plays—Rockford 0-6; Chicago 2-2. Goalies—Rockford, Leighton (26-28); Chicago, Copley (36-39). Penalty shot—Kristo stopped by Leighton, 19:40 of first period. Referee—Chris Schlenker. Linesmen—Mike Anderson and Ryan Daisy.