Rockford, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs topped the Chicago Wolves 6-3 on Tuesday night at the BMO Center. Luke Philp recorded his first AHL career hat trick to help the IceHogs fend off the Wolves for the fifth spot in the Central Division playoff picture.
Despite the IceHogs completely controlling the pace of play in the first period and outshooting the Wolves 17-4, Rockford and Chicago were tied 1-1 heading into the first intermission.
Forward Michal Teply slung a shot from the high slot late in the introductory period, and forward Luke Philp deflected the puck past Chicago netminder Pyotr Kochetkov at 15:17 to take a 1-0 lead.
Coming out of a 4-on-4 with 22 seconds left of the first frame, defenseman Max Lajoie fired a hard angle shot that deflected off Rockford goalie Arvid Soderblom’s pad, squeaking through and evening the score 1-1 on the power play at 19:38.
Rockford took a 3-1 lead early in the second stanza when Philp registered his first hat trick of the season.
While the Hogs’ were on their third penalty kill, forward D.J. Busdeker picked off a Chicago pass in the IceHogs’ zone, and Philp blasted a slapshot past Kochetkov at 6:33, scoring his second shorthanded goal of the campaign. Just over two minutes later, Philp bagged the hatty after cleaning up his own rebounded shot off Kochetkov’s pad save at 8:42.
Answering back eight seconds later, Chicago forward Malte Stromwall deflected a shot off a Rockford defenseman on the edge of the crease past Soderblom at 8:54 to cut the Hogs’ lead to 3-2.
Teply recorded his third point of the night on the power play after netting a one-timer from the left circle and extending Rockford’s lead to 4-2 before the second intermission for his ninth goal of the season.
Tacking on the IceHogs’ fifth goal of the contest, forward Brett Seney caught a centering pass from forward David Gust and tapped the disc past Kochetkov at 4:03 to start the final frame. Kochetkov was also charged with his unsportsmanlike conduct minor after an altercation with Seney during Rockford’s goal celebration.
The Wolves shortened the Hogs’ lead back to two goals when forward Ryan Dzingel broke up a Rockford pass and knocked in a shot on a breakaway at 6:24, making the score 5-3.
After Kochetkov was pulled in favor of the extra skater at 17:41, forward Rocco Grimaldi caught a stretch pass off the wall from Busdeker and punched in an empty-netter at 19:53 to put the exclamation point on the Hogs’ 6-3 win.
Soderblom marked 13 saves on 16 Chicago shots to earn the win, and Kochetkov turned away 33 of 38 Rockford shots and was tagged with the loss.
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