Rookie forward Jamieson Rees’ third-period goal erased the game’s fourth and final tie as the Chicago Wolves claimed a 5-4 victory over the host Rockford IceHogs Sunday afternoon.
Rees produced the Wolves’ final two goals while forwards Tanner Jeannot, Sean Malone and Ryan Suzuki also scored during a wild affair that featured three lead changes during an eight-minute span of the second period.
Rookie goaltender Devin Cooley, loaned to the Wolves Saturday afternoon, posted 20 saves in his AHL debut to earn the win as Chicago (12-2-0-1) extended its winning streak to four games and increased its Central Division lead to 5 points over the Texas Stars.
Rockford’s Dylan McLaughlin gave the hosts the initial lead when he knocked home a rebound for a power-play goal at 16:34 of the first period.
The Wolves pulled even with just 23 seconds left in the first when Jeannot zoomed up the right wing to lead a 3-on-1 rush. Instead of dishing the puck, Jeannot fired from the faceoff dot and placed his wrister in the top left corner to make it 1-1.
During an eight-minute stretch of the second period, the Wolves and IceHogs combined for five goals as the lead changed hands three times.
Malone started the roller-coaster ride at 4:38 by raising his stick and redirecting defenseman Matt Murphy’s blast from the left point. Rockford’s Evan Barratt and Wyatt Kalynuk responded to give the IceHogs a 3-2 lead at 8:03, but Suzuki and Rees answered to restore a 4-3 Wolves edge at 12:12.
Suzuki and Phil Tomasino teamed up for a 2-on-1 rush that ended with Rockford’s Lucas Carlsson tipping Suzuki’s cross-crease pass into the net. Rees bucked an IceHogs defender who was riding his back, then skated to the right faceoff dot and roofed a blast past goaltender Matt Tomkins.
Rockford (6-11-1-0) forged the game’s fourth tie at 1:15 of the third as Josiah Slavin, making his pro debut, scored a power-play goal to lock it at 4-4.
The Wolves didn’t wait long to regain the lead. Sheldon Rempal (2 assists) ringed a pass along the right boards and behind the net. Tomkins skated into the trapezoid to try to corral it, but Rees swooped in to gain possession, emerged on the other side and rammed home the wraparound for the 5-4 edge at 4:41.
The Wolves defense clamped down and allowed just one shot over the final 15 minutes to improve the team’s record to 5-0 against Rockford this year. Tomkins (2-7-1) finished with 28 saves in the loss.
Chicago hosts the Grand Rapids Griffins at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Wolves Training Facility in Hoffman Estates before resuming its four-games-in-12-days stretch with Rockford.