The Chicago Wolves jumped to an early two-goal lead, but the Rockford IceHogs rallied for a 6-3 victory Friday night at the MetroCentre.
Forwards Dominik Bokk and David Gust and defenseman Josh Jacobs scored for the Wolves (8-4-1-0), who had played three games in the previous six days while the IceHogs had been idle since losing to the Wolves last Friday in Rockford.
The Wolves needed just 2:48 to open the scoring. Bokk carried the puck down the right wing into the offensive zone and veered toward the slot. He was challenged by a defenseman and the puck glided to center Spencer Smallman, who flipped a backhand right back to Bokk for a quick flick from just outside the crease.
Chicago pumped its lead to 2-0 at 7:31 of the first on Jacobs’ first goal of the season. Jack Drury won a faceoff directly to left wing Jamieson Rees, who sent the puck back to Jacobs at the right point. Jacobs skated to the half-wall and whistled a rising wrister that went through traffic and found the top of the net.
Rockford (4-6-1-0) took advantage of the game’s first power play and cut its deficit to 2-1 on Brett Connolly’s goal at 13:57 of the first. Rockford then took advantage of the Wolves’ first power play to pull even as Josiah Slavin finished an odd-man rush for a short-handed goal at 15:07.
The IceHogs took a 3-2 lead during 4-on-4 action in the middle of the second period. The teams battled for the puck behind the Wolves net, then Rockford pulled it into the crease and whacked at it three times before Alexander Nylander knocked it home.
Gust answered for the Wolves just 86 seconds later. Center Maxim Letunov seized the puck in the neutral zone, built up steam across the blue line and dished to his right to set up Gust’s blistering shot between goaltender Arvid Soderblom’s skates that made it 3-3 at 12:21 of the second.
Rockford’s Lukas Reichel secured a 4-3 lead for the hosts with his goal at 1:04 of the third, then Evan Barratt and Garrett Mitchell added empty-net goals in the final two minutes.
Soderblom (3-3-0) notched 31 saves in the win while Wolves goaltender Eetu Makiniemi (5-2-1) rejected 21 of 25 shots.
The Wolves don’t have to wait long to avenge the loss as they welcome Rockford to Allstate Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday for the third annual Red Kettle Game benefiting the Salvation Army. To set up the best seats, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.