ROCKFORD, Ill.—The Chicago Wolves faced off against the IceHogs in a crucial Central Division showdown Tuesday night in Rockford.
The Wolves got a goal and an assist from Max Lajoie and scores from Malte Stromwall and Ryan Dzingel but it wasn’t enough as the IceHogs skated to a 6-3 victory to snap the defending Calder Cup champion Wolves’ eight-game points streak.
Luke Philp scored three goals and added an assist for Rockford as it took a three-point lead over the Wolves for fifth place and the final postseason spot in the Central with three games remaining in the regular season.
After Philp scored late in the opening period to give Rockford the lead, Lajoie’s highlight-reel goal in the final minute of the first tied it at 1-1.
The Wolves captain went coast-to-coast, scooping up the puck from behind his own net, weaving his way through IceHogs defenders and then zipping a shot from a sharp angle that beat goaltender Arvid Soderblom. The unassisted goal was Lajoie’s 10th of the season.
Midway through the second, Rockford again seized the lead when Philp notched his second goal of the game, this one shorthanded. The IceHogs then made it 3-1 on Philp’s third of the contest.
The Wolves didn’t quit and pulled to within 3-2 just 12 seconds later on Stromwall’s 16th goal of the season. The forward unleashed a shot from outside the right circle that deflected off an IceHogs defender and bounded past Soderblom. Lajoie and Anttoni Honka were awarded assists on the play.
Rockford struck again on Michal Teply’s power-play goal that gave the home team a 4-2 advantage heading into the second intermission.
Early in the third, Brett Seney’s score extended the IceHogs’ lead to 5-2 but Dzingel’s goal just over two minutes later kept the Wolves within striking distance.
The veteran forward intercepted a pass and broke in alone on Soderblom before firing a shot past the netminder to the glove side. The unassisted tally was Dzingel’s second of the season.
Rocco Grimaldi sealed it for Rockford with an empty-netter in the waning seconds.
Pyotr Kochetkov (33 saves) suffered the loss in goal for the Wolves while Soderblom (13 saves) earned the victory for the IceHogs.
The Wolves dropped to 32-29-5-3 on the season and Rockford upped its record to 33-27-5-4.
Up next: The Wolves travel to Milwaukee to face the Admirals on Friday (7 p.m.; 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.