Seven skaters scored as the Chicago Wolves prevailed 7-4 over the Rockford IceHogs in Illinois Lottery Cup action on Saturday night at Allstate Arena. The victory pushed the Wolves’ franchise-record home win streak to 12 games.
Brett Sterling (G, 2A) and T.J. Tynan (3A) each collected three points while Jake Bischoff, Kevin Lough and Tyler Wong all registered a goal and assist. Forwards Byrce Gervais, Mackenzie MacEachern and Teemu Pulkkinen netted the other three tallies for the Wolves (24-15-6-2).
Chicago registered the game’s first goal at 8:02 of the opening frame. The play began in the Wolves zone with Stefan Matteau outletting a pass to Wong who sped through the neutral zone. Wong then cut laterally through the IceHogs zone and dropped a pass to Lough, who floated up the slot and released the puck over Collin Delia’s glove for the 1-0 lead.
With 3:39 remaining in the period, Tyler Sikura jetted up the left wing and snapped a shot past two Wolves defenders. The puck caught part of Kasimir Kaskisuo’s glove and fluttered in for the 1-1 equalizer.
Rockford (24-18-3-3) went to the dressing room with a 2-1 lead as Anthony Louis nabbed the go-ahead goal with just 1:38 left in the first period.
The Wolves wasted no time in the second and tied the game 2-2 just 2:03 into the session while the IceHogs’ Luke Johnson was serving a double-minor for high-sticking. Veteran Sterling charged up the left wing and, with captain Paul Thompson screening, snapped a shot past Delia (6-5-2).
“Great job by Sterling there,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “That really got us going when he scored that goal. We were fortunate, we were able to hit some shots right after that and carry the momentum.”
Just 56 seconds later, Tynan and Gervais skated down for a 2-on-1 opportunity. Tynan saucered a pass over the Rockford defender to Gervais in the slot for the easy redirect and the 3-2 lead.
Chicago stretched its lead to two goals just 1:32 later as Sterling gathered the puck near the right offensive boards and fed a pass to Wong in the slot. Wong chipped the shot in for the 4-2 Wolves lead at 4:31.
The Wolves were again on the power play when Bischoff gave the club a three-goal cushion with 46 seconds remaining in the second period. He blasted a shot from the center point that had eyes and found the back of the net through traffic.
Delia took a seat after the second period and Matt Tomkins replaced him between the pipes for Rockford to begin the third.
Chicago kept coming in the third period as MacEachern took advantage of a failed IceHogs pass just inside the Wolves blue line — he tipped the puck out of the zone and was away to the races. He fought off Rockford defenders the entire way but still managed to stuff a forehand shot past Tomkins for the 6-2 lead.
The Wolves pushed the margin to 7-2 when Lough, operating from the center point,blistered a shot that deflected off a falling Pulkkinen on its way into the back of the Rockford net at 5:49.
Rockford cut Chicago’s lead 7-3 at 12:52 of the final frame as Cody Franson wired a shot from the point.
Andreas Martinsen scored with less than two minutes to play for the 7-4 final score.
Kaskisuo (12-10-2) made 21 saves for the win while Delia stopped seven of 12 shots to collect the loss. Tomkins made six saves through 20 minutes of play.
The Wolves travel to Wells Fargo Arena on Friday, Feb. 9, for a Central Division showdown with the Iowa Wild. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on The U Too.