The Chicago Wolves scored in the final five minutes with an extra attacker to come within one, but ultimately fell to the Rockford IceHogs, 3-2, in an Illinois Lottery Cup matchup on Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena.
Forwards Tomas Hyka and Reid Duke scored for the Wolves (10-6-2-1) while Tyler Sikura, Victor Ejdsell and Luke Johnson tallied for the IceHogs (9-8-1-4).
“I think the biggest culprit of the night for me was discipline,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson, referring to five consecutive Wolves penalties in the second period. “We’ve been better in the last four games. That’s why we had 6 points out of 8 and opportunities to win every game.”
Trailing 3-1 in the third period, Chicago pulled goaltender Max Lagace for an extra skater, which allowed an unchecked Duke to walk in from the left boards and deposit the puck in the Rockford net with 4:24 remaining in the game.
Just 31 seconds after Rockford took a 1-0 lead in the first period, Hyka set up a give-and-go to tie the game at the 12:47 mark. Hyka skated the puck up to the Rockford blue line before passing it off to linemate Gage Quinney, who took it to the left circle and set Hyka up to tap the puck between IceHogs goaltender Anton Forsberg’s pads.
Rockford’s Ejdsell tallied a power-play goal late in the second period to take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission and Johnson scored the eventual game-winner 5:14 into the third frame.
Forsberg (4-2-0) saved 29 of 31 shots to earn the win while Lagace (4-3-1) made 19 saves.
The Wolves travel to Grand Rapids on Wednesday before returning home at 7 p.m. Saturday against San Antonio and 4 p.m. Sunday against Texas. Sunday’s game is the Wolves’ first Teddy Bear Toss.