Playing one skater short due to a rash of injuries, the Chicago Wolves took a 4-1 defeat against the host Rockford IceHogs Friday night.
Center Tommy Novak scored to extend his season-high point streak to nine games for the Wolves (20-9-1-2), who clinched the American Hockey League’s Central Division title two nights earlier at Grand Rapids.
Veteran goaltender Matt Tomkins (4-9-1) posted 36 saves to earn the win. Wolves rookie Beck Warm (8-4-1), playing his third game in five days, rejected 20 shots.
Rockford (12-18-1-0) opened the scoring when former Wolves defenseman Dmitri Osipov accepted a pass in the right circle and whistled home a wrister at 11:34. With 16 seconds left in the first, Mitchell Fossier knocked home his own rebound to give the IceHogs a 2-0 edge.
The IceHogs pushed their lead to 4-0 on Dylan McLaughlin’s short-handed goal at 8:28 of the second and Andrei Altybarmakian’s rush up the right wing at 7:52 of the third.
The Wolves got on the board with 5:03 remaining in regulation. Novak battled behind the IceHogs net to claim the puck, skated out to the bottom of the left circle and wheeled to fire a shot through Tomkins to make it 4-1.
The Wolves wrap up their 27th season at 7 p.m. Saturday when they host Rockford at the Wolves Training Facility in Hoffman Estates. The American Hockey League has announced the 2021-22 regular season will begin Friday, Oct. 15.