Rockford, IL – The Rockford IceHogs (8-13-1-0) battled back from two one-goal deficits and fired a season-high 41 shots on goal to defeat the Chicago Wolves (15-4-0-2) 4-3 in the shootout at BMO Harris Bank Center Saturday night. Forward D.J. Busdeker recorded two assists and goaltender Ivan Nalimov recorded his first AHL win making 23 saves.
For the fifth consecutive game, the IceHogs opened the game scoring as forward Reese Johnson completed a 2-on-1 with Busdeker at 5:56 of the first period, lifting a wrist shot over the glove of Wolves goalie Connor Ingram (SOL, 37 saves on 40 shots). After the marker, the Wolves settled down and rattled off two goals in 35 seconds to tie and take the league. Forward Cole Smith deflected in his third goal of the season between the legs of Nalimov (W, 23 saves on 26 shots) at 14:11 and Wolves leading goal scorer David Cotton picked up his eighth goal of the season on the power play at 14:46.
In a highly physical middle stanza, IceHogs forward Andrei Altybarmakian battled towards the front of the net and knocked in a loose puck from a Busdeker shot to make it 2-2 at 15:47. With less than 12 seconds left in the period, Smith snuck in his second goal of the game to give the Wolves a 3-2 lead before the intermission buzzer.
Looking for the comeback, the IceHogs pulled Nalimov with three minutes left in the third period in hopes of finding the game-tying marker. Moments into the 6-on-5 attack, forward MacKenzie Entwistle banked a shot off the back of Ingram and off a member of the Wolves defense to make it 3-3 and force overtime.
During the extra skate, the IceHogs rattled off five shots during the 3-on-3, but a shootout was need. Forward Tim Soderlund opened the breakaway competition with a marker and Brandon Pirri added another in the second round and Nalimov denied both Wolves chances to seal the victory.
The IceHogs went 0-for-2 on the power play while the Woles went 1-for-2.
The Rockford IceHogs open a four-game road trip on Wednesday, Apr. 21 with a stop in Hoffman Estates, IL to battle the Wolves at 7:00 p.m. The journey continues with back-to-back contests against the Iowa Wild in Des Moines, IA on Friday, Apr. 23 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, Apr. 24 at 6:00 p.m. and wraps up in Grand Rapids, MI against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday, Apr. 28 at 6:00 p.m. Watch all of the action LIVE on AHLTV and 23.2 Antenna TV WIFR (home games)! Tune in to every broadcast for free on SportsFanRadio 1330 AM, Sportsfanradio1330.com, IceHogs.com, and the IceHogs app!
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