Rockford, Ill.- A three-goal second period was too much to overcome but the Rockford IceHogs made the Chicago Wolves earn a 4-3 win on Friday night at the Rockford MetroCentre.
With the IceHogs trailing 4-1 entering the final frame, Rockford tallied twice on power plays to bring the game within reach. Midway through the final stanza Jeff Taffe picked up a loose puck, drove to the net and dished to Ryan Potulny to slap in his second goal of the night and 16th of the season to make it 4-2 at 9:56. Brandon Pirri chipped in with an assist.
Then Drew McIntyre blocked a Brian Connelly shot but Kyle Beach was on the door step to pound in the IceHogs third power-play marker of the game at 13:17 in the third period. Taffe was also credited with an assist, his third of the game.
After the goal, the IceHogs had the momentum but a late penalty ended Rockford's chance to complete the comeback despite chances when Alec Richards was pulled in favor of an attacker to make it even strength for the remaining minutes.
The Hogs got on the board first as Potulny fired in his team-high ninth power-play marker of the season. Taffe pushed the puck up to Connelly and he dropped it off for a wide open Potulny to bury from between the hashes at 14:07 in the first period.
The Wolves didn't let the lead last for long as they tied it up at 1-1 less than two minutes later. From behind the IceHogs net, Angelo Esposito found Ryan Garbutt by the left boards and he sent the puck to the back of the net at 16:05 in the first. Fredrik Pettersson was also credited with an assist on the play.
Then Chicago took a 2-1 lead as Jason Krog blasted one by Richards to open the middle frame. Garbutt raced into the IceHogs zone and dropped off a behind-the-back pass to an open Krog to fire in from the top of the faceoff circle at 3:08.
Late in the middle frame, the Wolves tacked on two more goals to extend their lead to 4-1. With Chicago on a power play, Andre Deveaux sent a pass to Andrey Zubarev and he ripped a shot to light the lamp and make it 3-1 at 18:59 in the second period. Jared Ross also factored in with an assist.
As time was about to expire in the period Jaime Sifers fed Garbutt and he sent a puck in on Richards. Tim Miller was right in front of the IceHogs net and redirected the puck to the back of the net at 19:43 to give the Wolves a 4-1 lead.
MacIntyre picked up his 10th win of the season turning away 29 shots on 32 attempts. Richards was handed a loss, stopping 24-of-28 chances. The IceHogs finished the night converting on 3-of-4 power play opportunities and Chicago cashed in on one of their three chances.
Next Home Game: Saturday, Feb. 19 vs. Houston Aeros: The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. The First 500 kids to the game will receive an IceHogs Youth Jersey compliments of Feldco, ESPN 1380 and WTVO.