Brandon Pirri and Paul Cotter scored two goals apiece spark the Chicago Wolves to a 5-1 victory over the Rockford IceHogs in an Illinois Lottery Cup clash Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena.
Defenseman Dylan Coghlan also scored for the Wolves (26-24-3-2), who played without eight of their top 12 scorers due to injuries, illness and recalls by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. Goaltender Garret Sparks posted 30 saves to earn his second win in a row.
“It was a good effort from top to bottom,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “I thought our veteran guys played really well today – stepped up on special teams. I thought our young guys obviously stepped up as well.”
Pirri opened the scoring for the third time in four days – this time 4:31 into the game. Curtis McKenzie carried the puck behind the net and passed it to Pirri just outside the crease. IceHogs goaltender Collin Delia rejected Pirri’s first shot, but Pirri located the rebound in the crease and whacked it home.
Cotter pushed the lead to 2-0 with a wrister from beyond the circles at 11:43 of the first. Defenseman Nic Hague and forward Tyrell Goulbourne worked the puck into the offensive zone for Cotter, who veered from the right wall to the middle of the ice to find room to unleash the shot that netted his second goal of the season.
Pirri earned his second goal of the period at 17:50 when he chased down a Tye McGinn pass in the left circle, darted toward the net and flicked a backhander over the flailing Delia to make it 3-0.
Coghlan gave the Wolves a 4-0 lead with his power-play goal at 10:49 of the second. Hague set up the puck on a tee for Coghlan, who blasted a slap shot from just inside the blue line that flew into the top-left corner of the net.
Rockford (26-28-1-2) ended Sparks’ shutout when Nick Moutrey found a tiny sliver of space between Sparks and the post to score 7:03 into the third.
Cotter delivered his second goal when he crashed the crease, found a rebound and flipped home a backhand for a power-play tally at 13:16.
Delia (13-12-1) stopped 17 shots for the IceHogs.
The Wolves start a three-game road trip Tuesday at Iowa. They’ll return to Allstate Arena on Thursday, March 5, to face the Tucson Roadrunners on Craft Beer Night.