Rosemont, Ill.- One of the strongest power-play teams showed why they are so good on the advantage. The Chicago Wolves put three man-advantage goals in the back of the net to power past the IceHogs 4-1 in the first game of the West Division Finals.
The Wolves have three power-play goals in the first game of the best-of-seven West Division Finals on Thursday. (Photo by Steve Woltmann/Chicago Wolves)
The Wolves had power-play goals in each period and tacked on an empty-net marker at 18:56 in the third. Rockford's only goal came from Jack Skille at 15:55 in the third with assists from Petri Kontiola and Troy Brouwer.
Joel Kwitkowski gave the Wolves a first-period advantage with a power-play goal at 15:03. It is the first man-advantage goal that the IceHogs have allowed in the Calder Cup playoffs after 21 opportunities. Arturs Kulda and Jason Krog had the assists.
In the second, Darren Haydar scored his fourth goal of the postseason at 14:00 in the second on a 4-on-3. Brett Sterling and Krog recorded the helpers. With 1:30 left on Petri Kontiola's delay of game minor for closing his hand on the puck, Haydar picked up a feed from Sterling at the post and pounded it past Corey Crawford.
Sterling found the back of the net at 10:12 in the third to make the score 3-0 with helpers from Jordan LaVallee and Krog on a 5-on-4 just seven seconds after a five-minute Colin Fraser major for high sticking ended.
After finishing the Division Semifinals perfect on the penalty kill, the IceHogs are now 4-for-7 in the Division Finals. They also went 0-for-6 on the power play.
The Rockford IceHogs' three-game road winning streak came to an end and the Hogs remain winless in the Allstate Arena.
Including the series against Houston this year, the IceHogs are now 6-5 in franchise history on Game 1s, but are 1-5 on the road.
With the loss, Crawford falls to 4-2 in the postseason. His goals against average dropped to 1.41 with a .946 save percentage. He had 29 saves on Thursday. Ondrej Pavelec also had 29 saves for the win.
Jason Krog's three assists brought him to 24 points against the IceHogs between the regular season and postseason.
The IceHogs return to the Allstate on Saturday for another go-round with the Wolves in Game 2. The puck drops at 7 p.m. Catch all of the action at Damon's Grills, 755 Clark Road in Rockford or through 1330AM WNTA.
Next Home Game: Sunday, May 4. Chicago Wolves vs. Rockford IceHogs. The Wolves and Hogs will take the best-of-seven series to the Rockford MetroCentre for a pair of games. It will be the second game of a weekend set and third in four days for the two teams. The puck drops at 4:05 p.m.