ROCKFORD, Ill. – Cody Franson, Chris DiDomenico and Gustav Forsling nabbed a goal apiece in the third period to fuel a furious late comeback for the Rockford IceHogs, but the Chicago Wolves held on for a 6-4 victory in front of a sellout crowd at the BMO Harris Bank Center Friday night. The loss was just Rockford’s second in its last nine outings, and sealed a first-round Calder Cup playoff matchup against the Wolves.
After falling behind 5-1 early in the third period, Franson got Rockford’s blitz started as he potted a rebound just over four minutes into the frame. Franson then assisted on DiDomenico’s marker seven minutes later, as the forward batted a rebound out of the air for his 14th tally of the year to help the Hogs cut the deficit to 5-3.
Six minutes later, Forsling strengthened Rockford’s lifeline with a blast past netminder Oscar Dansk to get the IceHogs within a goal of Chicago’s five. However, the Wolves sealed their victory with a T.J. Tynan empty-netter just under 30 seconds later.
The Wolves dominated the contest early, notching goals from Keegan Kolesar and Teemu Pulkkinen in the first period to take a 2-0 lead into the break. T.J. Tynan then added his first of the game six minutes into the middle stanza, but William Pelletier put the Hogs on the board with just 43 seconds remaining in the period to make it 3-1.
Pulkkinen added his second marker of the affair 1:41 into the third period, and Zac Leslie stretched the lead to 5-1 with another lamplighter just over a minute later before Rockford’s three-goal rally. Dansk stopped 32 of 36 shots to help the Wolves seal the 2017-18 Central Division title, while Rockford’s Jeff Glass turned aside 24 of 29 pucks in the opposite crease.
Next Home Game: Sunday, April 22 vs Chicago (Calder Cup Playoffs | Game 2/Ticket A)
The Rockford IceHogs open up their home slate of the 2017-18 Calder Cup Playoffs with Game 2 (Ticket A) against the Chicago Wolves. Tickets can be purchased at IceHogs.com, by calling (815) 968-5222 or in-person at the BMO Harris Bank Center Box Office beginning Monday morning at 10 a.m.