Rookie defenseman Dylan Coghlan was the overtime hero for the Chicago Wolves on Saturday night, scoring the game-winner with 1:05 left in overtime to clinch a 2-1 victory over the Rockford IceHogs in Illinois Lottery Cup action at Allstate Arena.
Forward Brooks Macek also scored for Chicago (20-9-3-1) to help the first-place Wolves extend their point streak to 11 games. The victory was the first time in the seven Illinois Lottery Cup games this season that the home team won. Netminder Max Lagace (8-5-2) earned the win with 20 saves.
Forward Jacob Nilsson scored the only goal for Rockford (15-12-3-4) with 3:25 left in regulation while goaltender Kevin Lankinen (1-3-2) saved 41 of 43 shots on the night.
“What I was most happy with was the adversity at the end of the game,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “They get the late goal and it’s a big momentum swing, right? But our guys were able to weather it and control their emotions and then get back to doing what they needed to do. Then we got our opportunity in overtime and took advantage of it and found a way to win. I was really happy with our effort.”
Knotted up 1-1 late in overtime, the Wolves sent Coghlan, Macek and forwards Curtis McKenzie and Daniel Carr on the ice for a power play. Macek collected the puck at the top of the right circle before dishing a pass to McKenzie in the slot. McKenzie’s shot was saved, but Coghlan tore through the zone and sent a backhand shot under Lankinen’s pads at 3:55 to seal the win.
Macek opened the scoring at the 14:18 mark of the first period, giving the Wolves a 1-0 lead that would last until late in the third. While linemate Gage Quinney skated the puck around the zone and shot on Lankinen, Macek camped out beside the net for a rebound. His persistence paid off when he finally slammed a shot through for the lead.
Nilsson sent the game into the overtime session with his power-play goal 16:35 into the third period, catching a pass low and wrapping around the net to beat Lagace.
The Wolves play their final game of 2018 at 2:30 p.m. Monday with a visit to the second-place Iowa Wild. Chicago plays three home games during the first week of 2019 and to get the best deals, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.