ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Chicago Wolves opened a stretch of three games in three days with a scintillating 4-3 victory over the Rockford IceHogs on Friday night in Rockford.
Griffin Mendel, Vasily Ponomarev, Malte Stromwall and Nathan Sucese scored goals and Zachary Sawchenko was strong in net to help the defending Calder Cup champion Wolves snap a two-game losing skid.
The Wolves’ Ronan Seeley and Ryan Dzingel each added two assists in the first of back-to-back meetings between the teams.
Sucese’s shorthanded goal in the third period was the game-winner for the Wolves, who thwarted a Rockford rally to kick off a busy weekend on a high note.
“Guys are stepping up left and right here,” Sucese said. “We have a lot of guys down and we need guys to step up moving forward. We have two other big ones this weekend.”
The IceHogs broke through early on Buddy Robinson’s goal but the Wolves tied it in the latter stages of the opening period on Mendel’s second goal of the season. The defenseman wired a wrist shot from just inside the blue line through traffic and past the glove of IceHogs goaltender Dylan Wells.
A short time later, the Wolves took a 2-1 lead on Ponomarev’s fourth of the goal of the season. The forward circled behind the Rockford net and beat Wells to the post and scored on a wraparound.
The IceHogs knotted the score at 2-2 on a shorthanded goal by Luke Philp midway through the second period.
The Wolves cashed in on an early power-play opportunity in the third. Stromwall’s wrist shot from the top of the right circle eluded Wells for the forward’s third goal of the season.
After Rockford tied it at 3-3 on Philp’s second goal of the game, Sucese netted the winner while the Wolves were shorthanded. The forward shoveled in a rebound of his own shot for his fourth goal of the season.
“I just tried to get the first one on net and it came right back to me,” Sucese said. “I almost gave it back to our ‘D’ to waste some time but then I saw a little space and shot it and followed up my shot for the rebound and made a little move on the goalie.”
Sawchenko made 32 saves to earn the win while Wells (28 saves) suffered the loss.
“It was a little bit back and forth there, giving up one, getting one and giving up one but I’m glad we came out on top,” Sucese said.
Chicago improved to 5-6-1-0 on the season while Rockford dropped to 6-6-0-1.
Next up: The Wolves play host to the IceHogs on Saturday night at Allstate Arena (7 p.m.; My50, AHLTV).
For information on Wolves ticket plans for the 2022-23 season — everything from single-game tickets to Flex Packs to group outings — visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.