Rockford, Ill.- After seven-games and 14 days on the road, the Rockford IceHogs found themselves on the short end falling 5-1 to the Chicago Wolves at the Rockford MetroCentre in front of 5,642 fans.
Chicago grabbed the lead just 16-seconds into their man advantage at 5:37 of the first period. Following their offensive faceoff win and after a quick set of passes from Darren Haydar to Jason Krog, Krog found Paul Postma who then wristed a shot past Hanuu Toivonen.
Rockford responded quickly controlling the puck deep inside the Wolves zone. Rob Klinkhammer dug the puck out of the corners and attempted a long pass to Ryan Stanton, having to reach out, Stanton stopped the puck from escaping the zone and delivered the puck to the net where Ben Smith redirected the puck up-high past Edward Pasquale.
The Wolves would jump to a 2-1 lead after Fredrik Pettersson sniped a puck past Toivonen's blocker side at 3:39 in the second period. A quick breakout pass started by Angelo Esposito enabled Petterson space leaving the zone. Pettersson took the puck from his blue line and skated all the way till he reached the top of the IceHogs zone and let off the firing wrister.
Chicago continued the pressure and extended their lead to 3-1 after a few precise passes inside Rockford's zone. The Wolves moved the puck down from the point down the far boards to Pettersson, he sent the puck to Spencer Machacek camped out on the goal-line just to the left of Toivonen. With the defenders all focused on Pattersson, Artus Kulda snuck behind the defense to position himself for a quick one-timer that snuck beneath Toivonen's left pad at 7:13.
The Wolves wouldn’t let up pushing their lead to 4-1 over the IceHogs just over a half-minute into the start of the third period. Andrey Zubarev slid the puck down the boards to the corner of the ice where Jason Krog collected the puck. Krog spun around to center the puck out front where Riley Holzapfel netted the puck over Toivonen while he was down at 1:39.
With Chicago already all but having sealed up game they added one more goal to put the Wolves out in front at 5-1. After a few attempts to clear the puck by Arturs Kulda and Tim Miller, the puck climbed off the glass to center where Ryan Garbutt split the Rockford defense. Garbutt went in on Toivonen alone to net one to the back of the net at 12:39.
Notes: Pasquale’s strong effort of stopping 38 of 39 shots earned him the win, while Toivonen stopped 24 shots in a losing effort. Rockford went 0-5 on the man advantage while the Wolves netted just one of three chances. The IceHogs have now lost their last three auction games.
Next Home Game: Friday, March 18, vs. Oklahoma City Barons. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m. The poster series continues. The first 1,000 fans through the doors will receive an IceHogs poster thanks to Comcast.