Patience paid off for the Chicago Wolves, who scored three third-period goals to defeat the Rockford IceHogs 5-2 on Sunday afternoon to take home the Illinois Lottery Cup for the third straight season.
Forward Tye McGinn scored a pair of goals for Chicago (42-27-4-6) while forwards Reid Petryk, Curtis McKenzie and Keegan Kolesar all added goals. Netminder Oscar Dansk (25-9-4) recorded 30 saves in the victory that widens the Wolves lead over the Central Division to six points.
Jacob Nilsson and Victor Ejdsell scored power-play goals for Rockford (32-28-4-6) while goaltender Anton Forsberg (14-14-2) stopped 27 of 31 shots.
After more than 33 scoreless minutes, the Wolves finally broke through late in the second period with two goals in a 1:24 span.
McGinn opened the scoring at the 13:44 point of the second, scoring his sixth goal in his last 14 games with the Wolves. McGinn’s initial shot from the top of the circles was blocked, but he immediately collected the loose puck and fired it past Forsberg for the 1-0 Wolves lead.
Petryk doubled the lead with his first goal in a Wolves sweater, tipping a shot from rookie defenseman Nic Hague past Forsberg’s glove at the 15:08 mark.
Nilsson got the IceHogs on the board at the 3:28 mark of the third period, knocking in a puck that bounced off the end boards during a Rockford power play, before Ejdsell tied the game with another power-play goal at 7:21 with a one-timer from the right circle.
McKenzie responded at the 12:07 mark to regain the Wolves lead, taking advantage of Kolesar as a screen in front of Forsberg. McKenzie skated a lap around the perimeter of the Rockford zone — looking for a passing lane to open up — before reaching the top of the zone and tossing a shot in on net. Kolesar took away Forsberg’s eye line and forced him to the left side of his crease while McKenzie’s shot sailed in on the right.
Kolesar scored his own at 14:28 on the Wolves power play to make it a 4-2 game, pouncing on a rebound sitting in Forsberg’s crease, before McGinn tallied his second of the game at 18:49 on the empty net to seal the 5-2 victory.
The Wolves head to Milwaukee on Friday before hosting the Colorado Eagles on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena.