The Rockford IceHogs edged the Chicago Wolves 2-1 in Game 1 of the Central Division Semifinals on Saturday night at Allstate Arena. The best-of-five series continues Sunday with Game 2 in Rockford.
The Wolves entered the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs as the division’s top seed and owner of the home-ice advantage, but the IceHogs took it away by scoring two power-play goals in the opening 23 minutes and then holding on.
“I really think we played poorly tonight,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “I think we got outplayed tonight, which is rare for us. It’s not something we’re used to. At the end of the day, some guys I’m sure are extremely disappointed in their performance in such an important game.”
Rockford (1-0) opened scoring at 9:42 of the first frame as Tyler Sikura chipped in a power-play marker from the side of the goal mouth.
Just 2:05 into the second period, Adam Clendening added another power-play goal to give the IceHogs a 2-0 lead.
The Wolves (0-1) found some life in the third period. Defenseman Zac Leslie leaned into a shot at the right point and Pulkkinen — in a net-front crowd — whacked the rebound out of midair past Collin Delia (1-0) to cut Rockford’s lead 2-1.
Oscar Dansk (0-1) made 27 saves in his Calder Cup Playoff debut while Delia stopped 31 shots.
The series moves to Rockford — following a 1-1-1-1-1 format — on Sunday. Puck drop is 4 p.m., and the game will stream on AHL Live.