ROSEMONT, Ill.---The Chicago Wolves built a 4-2 lead and held on through a late rally to collect a 4-3 victory at the Allstate Arena Wednesday night.
The win marked the fourth victory in five games for Chicago (30-24-2-4), which used a two-goal performance from left wing Nigel Dawes and markers from forwards Ryan Garbutt and Fredrik Pettersson to slip past Rockford.
“That late goal in the second to make it 3-2 was a huge turning point,” said Wolves Head Coach Don Lever. “They were coming at us pretty hard all night but we hung in there and didn’t give them anything there at the end.”
The Wolves took a 1-0 lead, 3:48 into the first period when Rockford goaltender Hannu Toivonen came out the play the puck behind the net and Dawes raced in and deposited it in the net before the goaltender could get back in position.
Garbutt made the Wolves lead 2-0 at 7:27 of the first frame when he took a pass from center Jason Krog in the slot and flung it past Toivonen.
Rockford captain Garnet Exelby cranked a shot from the blueline that flew through traffic in front of the net and past Wolves goaltender Drew MacIntyre to make the score 2-1 at 11:12 of the second period.
The IceHogs drew even with 40 seconds left in the second period. Ryan Potulny carried the puck down the left boards before slipping a pass to Jeff Taffe streaking down the slot for a quick rip past MacIntyre.
The Wolves answered 20 seconds later to regain the lead, 3-2, when defenseman Mark Matheson slipped a pass out to Dawes from behind the net and Dawes pushed a shot straight down the slot between Toivonen’s legs.
Chicago regained its two-goal lead, 4-2, 39 seconds into the third period. Defenseman Noah Welch put the puck up the ice for Pettersson, who drove in alone and wristed a shot past Toivonen.
Toivonen (10-12-3) turned aside 27 shots for the IceHogs.
Rockford (21-28-3-4) pulled to 4-3 at 9:27 of the third period. Defenseman Ryan Stanton cranked a shot past MacIntyre from the blue line.
MacIntyre (11-5-1) posted 27 saves for Chicago.
The Wolves travel to Wisconsin for an Amtrak Rivalry matchup with the Milwaukee Admirals at the Bradley Center on Friday at 7 p.m.
Rockford 0 2 1 -- 3
Chicago 2 1 1 -- 4
First Period---1, Chicago, Dawes 26 (unassisted), 3:48; 2, Chicago, Garbutt 15 (Krog, Ross), 7:27 pp. Penalties---Connelly, Rockford (interference), 6:44; Pettersson, Chicago (hooking), 16:12.
Second Period---3, Rockford, Exelby 1 (Makarov, Stanton), 11:12; 4, Rockford, Taffe 19 (Potulny, Lalonde), 19:20; 5, Chicago, Dawes 27 (Matheson, Postma), 19:40. Penalties---Pirri, Rockford (tripping), 2:13; Kozek, Chicago (tripping), 8:13; Connelly, Rockford (diving), 18:21; Kozek, Chicago (tripping), 18:21.
Third Period---6, Chicago, Pettersson 7 (Welch), 0:39; 7, Rockford, Stanton 1 (unassisted), 9:27. Penalties---Pirri, Rockford (slashing), 4:23; Bench, Chicago (too many men), 6:31;
Shots on goal---Rockford: 12-12-6--30. Chicago: 13-8-10--31. Power plays---Rockford: 0-3. Chicago: 1-3. Goalies---Rockford, Toivonen (27-31). Chicago, MacIntyre (27-30). A---5,028. Referee---Terry Koharski and Ian Croft. Linesmen---Peter Cichy and Al Stensland.