ROSEMONT, Ill. – Spencer Abbott was the lone scorer in the shootout as the Rockford IceHogs topped the Chicago Wolves, 4-3, on Sunday evening at Allstate Arena.
Chicago (13-10-3-2) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, but Rockford (9-13-2-3) rallied – Tanner Kero netted the game-tying goal with six seconds to play in the third period – and Mac Carruth (3-5-3) sealed the victory in the shootout as he stopped all three Wolves skaters in the shootout.
“I think we were in control of the game,” said Wolves head coach Craig Berube. “A couple bounces here and there — a couple goals and that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
The Wolves opened scoring at 2:01 of the first frame when Jordan Caron netted his second goal of the season standing on Carruth’s doorstep. Fellow Quebec native Samuel Blais registered the lone assist on the play as he carried the puck into the offensive zone and chipped the puck to Caron from near the left-corner wall.
Chicago then doubled its lead on the power play. Cycling the puck up the right side, left wing Kenny Agostino at the same-side point fed the puck to rookie defenseman Vince Dunn at the center point. The 20-year-old Dunn wired a shot low through net-front traffic at 15:37 to extend the lead.
Just seven seconds past the midway point of the middle session – while skating down a man – Rockford’s Mark McNeill rushed into the Wolves zone on the left wing, spun around and fed a pass to Kyle Baun breaking in near the slot. Baun lasered a shot over Jordan Binnington’s glove-side shoulder to cut Chicago’s lead to 2-1.
At 19:28, Wade Megan redirected a Jordan Schmaltz point shot for his team-leading 12th goal of the year to give the Wolves a 3-1 lead. With the secondary assist, Agostino collected his second point of the night.
Rockford pulled with back within a goal, 3-2, at the 9:02 mark of the third period. In the IceHogs’ defensive end, Baun fed Martin Lundberg a pass as he was skating through the neutral zone. Lundberg zipped around the Chicago defense for a shot. Binnington (7-5-3) made the initial save, but Lundberg collected his own rebound and backhanded the puck into the net.
In the dying seconds of the third period – with Carruth on the bench for the extra attacker – McNeill lobbed the puck toward the net, it deflected off Baun and Kero poked it in to force overtime.
After a scoreless 3-on-3 overtime, Abbott went backhand to forehand and slid the puck by Binnington on the glove side in the first round of the shootout. None of the Wolves’ shooters could capitalize – although they hit the post twice – and Abbott’s goal stood as the game-winner.
Binnington turned aside 38 shots through four periods and stopped 1 of 2 Rockford chances in the shootout.
The Wolves and IceHogs square off again in Illinois Lottery Cup competition on Wednesday (Dec. 21) at BMO Harris Bank Center. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m., and the game will stream live on AHLLive.com.
On Thursday (Dec. 22), Chicago will play its final game prior to the holiday break at Allstate Arena against the Milwaukee Admirals in an Amtrak Rivalry showdown. Game time is set for 7 p.m. For ticket information or complete 2016-17 game and broadcast schedules, visit ChicagoWolves.com.