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Goalie makes 34 saves is solid effort

Rosemont, Ill.-
If you believe in precursors, the Rockford IceHogs didn't have a chance on Saturday night in Rosemont against the Chicago Wolves. The IceHogs team bus sustained a flat tire on the way to the Allstate Arena, delaying the start of the game 30 minutes.

The adversity didn't faze IceHogs goalie Jason LaBarbera, however, as he made 34 saves, but Rockford was sluggish after a solid first period and fell 2-1 in an Illinois Lottery Cup matchup.

After skating scoreless for the majority of the opening frame, the two teams traded goals just over a minute apart. Chicago struck first in transition when Nathan Longpre one-timed a Sabastian Wannstrom pass past LaBarbera at 15:33.

Rockford responded 1:06 later to tie the contest up at 1-1. Adam Clendening picked off a Wolves clear out attempt leading to a scrum in front of the Chicago goal and finishing with Pat Mullane knocking in his third tally of the season past Jake Allen at 16:39.

After a scoreless second period in which the Wolves outshot Rockford 13-4, Chicago took a 2-1 lead midway through the third. Ty Rattie redirected a Dmitrij Jaskin point shot past LaBarbera at 12:31 for his 13th goal of the season.

With a late power play chance, Rockford pressured Allen in the Wolves end and Garret Ross knocked in what would have been the game tying goal with 11 seconds left, but the officials ruled that the whistled had blown and the play was ruled dead.

Next Home Game: Monday, Jan. 20 vs. Toronto Marlies at 1 p.m. Rockford hosts another day game, this time against Toronto. While enjoying the day off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the IceHogs are giving away drawstring bags to the first 1,500 kids (14 and under) at the game courtesy of Pepsi.