Rockford, Ill. – One of the Rockford IceHogs biggest strong points this season has been the team’s penalty kill. On Monday afternoon, the penalty kill unit was unable to bail the club out as they gave up two power play goals on seven chances en route to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Wolves.
The momentum seemed to shift in the IceHogs' favor to start the second period. Rockford began the period shorthanded for four minutes as Ryan Hartman was called for a double-minor high-sticking penalty just as the first expired. Despite being short a man, it was the IceHogs who cashed in. Pierre-Cedric Labrie picked off a Wolves pass in the neutral zone, raced into the Chicago end, made a move on Jordan Binnington and deposited his fifth goal of the campaign to even the score at 1-1.
The IceHogs were able to kill off the rest of the penalty along with another in the period to keep the game knotted after two. However, the Hogs continued to play with fire as they gave the Wolves seven total power play chances on the day, including off of a Garret Ross slashing minor 3:26 into the third. Chicago came into the game with the sixth best power play in the AHL and took full advantage. Petteri Lindbohm fired a puck that Scott Darling knocked down but Shane Harper was right there to slip it to the back of the net and put Chicago back on top, 2-1.
With Rockford pressing to get the equalizer, Chicago sealed the game with a Pat Cannone goal at 9:04 in the period and an empty-net tally from Colin Fraser at 18:17. The win for Chicago was their first in the last four games against Rockford. The Hogs remain atop the Illinois Lottery Cup standings with a 5-2-1-0 record, with four games remaining against their intrastate rivals.
Rockford came out firing in the first period but Chicago found score sheet first. With Brandon Mashinter and Ross both in the penalty box for separate penalties the Wolves offense went to work with the 5-on-3 advantage. On two separate occasions the Wolves fired shots off the Rockford cage before finally getting one past Darling. Lindbohm rifled a shot, snapping his stick in the process, that ricocheted straight to Philip McRae and he fired it to the back of the net to put the visitors up 1-0.
Darling was saddled with the loss, stopping 26 of the 29 shots he faced while Binnington made 29 saves for the win.
Next Home Game: Saturday, January 24 vs. Utica Comets. Puck drops at 7 p.m. Two of the West's best collide when the IceHogs host the Comets for the sixth-annual Pink In The Rink night presented by Swedish American Hospital. The IceHogs will skate on pink ice wearing special pink jerseys which will be auctioned off throughout the night with proceeds benefitting the Mary Kay and Swedish American Foundations. Additionally the first 2,500 fans will receive a set of pink foam LED glow sticks.