Rockford, Ill.-The Chicago Wolves tacked on two markers in the third period to end a season-long five game unbeaten streak for the Rockford IceHogs and take the game 4-2 on Wednesday at the Rockford MetroCentre.
The Wolves, and the American Hockey League's best power play, struck first as Nigel Dawes sent the puck to the back of the net in the first period. Jason Krog fed the puck up to Dawes and he danced around the IceHogs defense and ripped a shot top shelf past Alec Richards at 13:40 to make it 1-0. Jared Ross also picked up an assist.
The Hogs came back and tied it at 1-1 with a power play goal of their own against the league's worst penalty kill unit. Igor Makarov held the puck in the offensive zone and found Kyle Beach skating up the right boards. Beach then centered the puck for Peter LeBlanc to jam in his third goal of the season at 15:20 in the first period. LeBlanc has now notched a goal in three of his last four games since being recalled from Toledo on Dec. 6.
Rockford took the 2-1 lead at 11:42 in the second when Jeff Taffe extended his team-high point scoring streak to six games (4g-6a). Evan Brophey found Taffe streaking up the middle of the ice and he eluded a diving Wolves' defender and slapped in his team-leading eighth goal. Simon Danis-Pepin also figured in on the play with a helper.
A few minutes later, Michael Davies and the Wolves tied it back up at 2-2. Patrice Cormier picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and found Davies racing in the Rockford zone. Davies picked up the pass and blasted a shot over the glove of Richards at 14:52 in the second period.
Chicago opened the final frame with a goal to break a 2-2 tie at 2:05. An icing call was waived off when Ryan Garbutt raced into the Rockford zone to pick up the loose puck. He then fired a shot in on Richards which deflected off of Shawn Lalonde’s stick and in.
The Wolves extended their lead to 4-2 and put the game out of reach for Rockford. Arturs Kulda fired the puck on net and it deflected off the stick of Ivan Vishnevskiy and to the back of the net at 3:54 in the third stanza. Jaime Sifers and Riley Holzapfel were credited with assists.
Richards was handed the loss after stopping 11 chances and Peter Mannino picked up his 10th win on the campaign after stopping 30 shots.
Rockford was only able to muster one power play tally on seven chances and Chicago finished the game 1-for-4.
Next Home Game: Friday, Dec. 17 vs. the Chicago Wolves. Game time is slated for 7:05 p.m. The first 1,000 fans into the building will receive the second of six posters in a limited edition series of posters featuring IceHogs players courtesy of Comcast and Medicine Man.