One night after stunning Grand Rapids with five third-period goals, the Chicago Wolves earned a 3-2 victory over the Rockford IceHogs Saturday night at Allstate Arena when Josh Leivo scored in the third round of the shootout.
Forwards Maxim Letunov and C.J. Smith scored in regulation for the Wolves (10-4-1-1), who maintained their spot atop the AHL’s Central Division. Goaltender Alex Lyon rejected 17 of 19 shots in regulation and overtime and stopped all three of Rockford’s shootout attempts.
“We’re learning how to play for 60 minutes,” said Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky. “Right now, we’re finding ways to win. C.J. Smith was our best player tonight. He was flying.”
For the fifth time in as many games this season against Rockford, the Wolves jumped on the board first. After Letunov won a faceoff, he motored toward the net while Jamieson Rees and Joey Keane worked the puck around to Smith at the top of the right circle. Smith ripped a blistering one-timer that Letunov tipped with the edge of his blade for a power-play goal.
Rockford (5-7-1-1) made it 1-1 just 33 seconds into the second period when defenseman Isaak Phillips took a feed from Evan Barratt and whistled home a sharp-angled shot from the goal line.
The IceHogs took a 2-1 lead at 5:11 of the second when defenseman Jakub Galvas snapped a shot from the left point. The puck banked off a Wolves defenseman and took a sharp turn into the net.
Smith celebrated his 200th AHL game by delivering the game-tying goal with 5:19 remaining in regulation. Captain Andrew Poturalski and Dominik Bokk dug the puck free along the left half-wall, then Smith took possession, swept behind the net and whipped home the wraparound for a 2-2 knot.
Lyon (4-1-1) earned the win while Rockford’s Collin Delia (1-1-1) posted 26 saves in the loss.
The Wolves welcome the Grand Rapids Griffins to Allstate Arena at 3 p.m. for Papa John’s Family Sunday. To get the best deals on Wolves gear and Howliday Flex Packs, visit ChicagoWolvesStore.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.