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Wolves’ Road Win Streak Busted by IceHogs

Lance Bouma collected three points, including two goals, as the Rockford IceHogs knocked off the Chicago Wolves 5-3 in Illinois Lottery Cup action on Saturday night in Rockford. The loss halted the Wolves’ season-best road win streak at seven games.

Teemu Pulkkinen netted two goals — and joined the Wolves 20-goal club — while Brandon Pirri picked up his team-leading 27th goal of the season.

The Wolves (36-21-7-2) earned the game’s first goal at 10:47 of the opening frame when they took advantage of a neutral-zone turnover. T.J. Tynan snagged the puck and journeyed into the Rockford zone on the right wing. Near the bottom of the same-side circle, he threaded a feed to Pirri at the bottom of the opposite circle for an easy tap-in.

Just 2:45 later, Chicago doubled its lead to 2-0 when Pulkkinen finished a tic-tac-toe play that began in the neutral zone with Beau Bennett. Hyka carried the puck into the IceHogs’ end and slipped a pass to Pulkkinen in the left circle for the second goal.

Rockford (34-25-4-4) began its rally early in the second period when Bouma cut the Wolves’ lead to 2-1 just 49 seconds into the frame.

The IceHogs pulled into a tie shortly after Chicago’s top penalty-kill unit spent an entire two-minute infraction on the ice. Captain Paul Thompson was whistled for hooking just after the expiration of the first minor and the IceHogs made quick work of their second power play as 21 seconds into the advantage, Matheson Iacopelli rifled a clean shot from near the inner edge of the left circle past Max Lagace (13-5-2) for the 2-2 equalizer at 8:37.

At 15:28, left wing Henrik Samuelsson ripped a shot from the right circle for the 3-2 go-ahead goal.

Forty-nine seconds later, the IceHogs doubled their lead to 4-2 as Bouma motored around the Wolves defense and chipped a shot past Lagace.

Chicago made it 4-3 with 2:50 to play in the second period as the team capitalized on its first power play of the contest. Defenseman Zac Leslie blasted a shot from the center point. Pulkkinen — who was screening Collin Delia (13-6-4) — lunged into the slot with his stick outstretched and the puck ricocheted into the top corner of the net for Chicago’s third goal.

While the Wolves had Lagace on the bench for an extra attacker, Chris DiDomenico chased down the puck as it bounced off the end boards and tapped it into the empty net for the 5-3 final score.

Lagace and Delia each made 33 saves.

The Wolves return to Rosemont to host the Grand Rapids Griffins in the season-series finale on Sunday, March 25. Game time is 5 p.m., and the contest will be televised on CW50.