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By: Kristen Wooten
Photo by Greg Hamil

Rockford, Ill. - The Rockford IceHogs (22-9-2-3) kicked off an eight-game home stand with a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night against the Chicago Wolves (16-16-1-2) in an Illinois Lottery Cup game.

The IceHogs jumped on the board early in the first period when Garret Ross stripped the puck from a defender, forcing a turnover behind the net. Ross then carried the puck into the slot and fired a shot which was redirected in by Ryan Haggerty.

Minutes later, Rockford doubled the score on a power-play goal scored by Viktor Svedberg.  Mark McNeill and Ryan Hartman worked the puck to the blueline for Svedberg and he snapped a shot past Pheonix Copley to make it 2-0 score.

At 12:32 of the first, Mark McNeill made his way to the penalty box for interference. A mere thirty seconds later, Kirill Gotovets joined McNeill in the box for delay of game after clearing the puck out of his own zone and out of play.

The Wolves swiftly took advantage of the 5-on-3 opportunity to score their first of two goals on the night. After Andre Benoit took several unsuccessful shots at Michael Leighton, he was finally able to get the Wolves on the board when Danny Kristo fed him a pass near the blueline.

The second period proved to be quieter from a goal-scoring standpoint. However, midway through the second, Pierre-Cedric Labrie scored his 11th goal of the season, giving him the outright title of the IceHogs leading goal-scorer, when he forced a turnover at the blueline in the offensive zone, scoring on a one-on-one duel with Copley.

The Wolves took advantage of yet another power play opportunity to score their second and final goal of the game. A shot off the right wing side from Lindbohm, bounced to Ivan Barbashev, who buried the puck in to the back of the net to bring the score to 3-2 at 2:56 in the third period.

After closing the gap to one goal and in desperation mode, the Wolves pulled Copley with 1:23 left in regulation in an attempt to even the score. However, Ross put the nail in the coffin on an easy, breakaway empty-net goal, advancing the IceHogs lead to 4-2.

But that wasn’t enough for Tanner Kero as he added his seventh goal of the season with only 38 seconds left of the game and cap the scoring.

Leighton picked up his league-leading 18th win with a 24-save performance. Meanwhile, Copley was tagged with a loss stopping 28 of the 32 shots he faced.

Rockford finished the game one-for-two on the power play while Chicago converted on two of their five opportunities.

Next Home Game: Jan. 15 vs. San Jose Barracuda at 7 p.m. The first 1,000 fans 21-and-older will receive a winter hat courtesy of Bud Light. Doors will open at 5:15 p.m. for a Blues Flame Lounge Friday. Fans 21-and-older are invited to enjoy live blues music, a happy hour special, and free appetizers at the Blue Flame Lounge on the main concourse.

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