Rockford, Ill.- The home opener went about as well as it could have for the Rockford IceHogs. The Hogs topped the Chicago Wolves 4-1 on Friday night at the Rockford MetroCentre, rebounding from a tough loss on Wednesday in Chicago.
Nathan Davis chipped in two goals, his second multi-goal game of the season, and Corey Crawford made 27 saves to lead Rockford to the win.
"I'm pretty happy with the way the season has started for me through training camp and the preseason," said Davis who after six games is now one goal shy of matching his season total from his rookie campaign. "Getting your timing back that early in the season pays dividends."
In the first, Rockford gave the Wolves a bit of their own medicine with a power-play goal from Danny Bois with assists by Brian Connelly and Daryl Boyle at 9:24. Bois tipped a Connelly drive past Manny Legace for his third goal of the season. Chicago had three power-play goals against Rockford on Wednesday.
But the Hogs let the Wolves catch up in the second when Tim Stapleton beat Corey Crawford with a snap shot glove side at 6:15 in the second. Spencer Machacek and Angelo Esposito had the assists.
"We play Chicago ten times," said Davis. "That's 1/8th of your schedule and could be the difference in the season. Getting a win against teams like this is the difference between getting in and not getting into the playoffs or getting home ice advantage or not. This was a key for us, making sure we take care of teams in our division."
Mark Cullen took the lead back for Rockford with his third goal of the season when he picked up a rebound from a Bois shot and put it in at 12:37. Simon Danis-Pepin picked up his first professional point on the assist.
Davis got in on the act with a breakaway lamp-lighter, matching Cullen's team lead for goals, at 17:26 into the second. Dowell, who was named Rockford's team captain on Friday, also picked up an assist.
"Chicago is an older veteran group who is really good on the power play. They have been hurting a lot of teams on the power play for years," said Davis. "So the biggest difference for us was keeping the game even strength and keeping fresher legs on the ice. The biggest part of tonight was keeping control of the puck, especially in their zone."
In the third period, Davis finished off Chicago when he buried an empty-net goal at 18:17, making it 4-1. Dowell also had a helper.
For just the third time in 22 all-time regular season games against Chicago, Rockford held the Wolves without a power play goal. Rockford finished 1-3 on the advantage while holding the Wolves to 0-2.
Next Home Game: Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009, Rockford IceHogs vs. Peoria Rivermen. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The IceHogs welcome the Rivermen into the MetroCentre for their second meeting of 2009-10. The first 5,000 fans into the building will get a magnet schedule courtesy of Dental Dimensions, Guerilla Graffix, 1330 WNTA, U.S. Cellular and WTVO.