ROSEMONT, Ill.---The Chicago Wolves jumped out to a 4-1 lead but the Rockford IceHogs rallied with three third-period goals and earned an eventual 5-4 overtime victory before 10,091 fans at the Allstate Arena Sunday night.
After tying the game, 4-4, with 39 seconds left to play, Rockford center Jeff Taffe drove into the zone and clanked a shot off the post, which bounced off goaltender Edward Pasquale’s back and into the net to give the IceHogs the win.
Chicago (39-30-5-6) will finish the season with 89 points, marking the 17th time in 17 season of the franchise that the team has finished above .500.
Forwards Riley Holzapfel, Fredrik Pettersson and Tim Miller and defenseman Mark Matheson scored for the Wolves.
“This is just the way our season has been all year,” said Wolves Head Coach Don Lever. “There have been too many games where we beat ourselves. It’s disheartening and frustrating to end like this.”
Holzapfel gave the Wolves a 1-0 lead, 10:13 into the first period. Forward Sergio Somma chipped a pass to Holzapfel, who moved in and flicked a backhanded shot past Rockford goaltender Hannu Toivonen on his way by the net.
The Wolves made their led two with a power-play goal, 4:45 into the second frame when Matheson cranked a shot past Toivonen from the blue line.
Chicago pulled ahead, 3-0, with a marker from Pettersson at 9:41 of the second period. Center Jason Krog and Pettersson broke out on a two on one and Krog sent a pass across for Pettersson to roof past Toivonen.
Center David Gilbert got Rockford on the scoreboard when he deflected a shot past Wolves goaltender Edward Pasquale, making the score 3-1 at 18:58 of the second frame.
Chicago regained a three-goal lead, 4-1, with a shorthanded goal by Miller, 1:33 into the third period. Haydar moved in toward the net before slipping a pass back to Miller, who crouched down and flipped a shot up over Toivonen.
Toivonen (21-16-4) turned aside 37 shots for Rockford.
Rockford (38-33-4-5) pulled to 4-2 with Gilbert’s second marker of the game at 3:19 of the final frame. Working on the power play, Chris DiDomenico sent the puck out from behind the net where Gilbert was able to knock it back past Pasquale.
The IceHogs pulled to 4-3 with just over six minutes remaining in the game when Rob Klinkhammer stripped a Wolves player of the puck at the blue line, broke down the ice alone, cut across the crease and backhanded a shot past Pasquale.
Center Mathis Olimb tied the score, 4-4, when he took a cross-ice pass from Brandon Pirri and cranked a shot past Pasquale and into the empty side of the net at 19:21 of the third period.
Pasquale (11-11-1) posted 33 for Chicago.
Rockford 0 1 3 1 -- 5 (OT)
Chicago 1 2 1 0 -- 4
First Period---1, Chicago, Holzapfel 12 (Somma), 10:13. Penalties---Lalonde, Rockford (boarding), 1:59; Hagel, Rockford (illegal hit to the head, game misconduct), 11:53.
Second Period---2, Chicago, Matheson 9 (Krog, Haydar), 4:45 pp; 3, Chicago, Pettersson 11 (Krog), 9:41; 4, Rockford, Gilbert 1 (Taffe, Klinkhammer) 18:58. Penalties---Pirri, Rockford (tripping), 4:14; Miller, Chicago (interference), 5:26; Beach, Rockford (slashing), 12:45; Ross, Chicago (elbowing), 15:29; Krog, Chicago (hooking), 19:40.
Third Period---5, Chicago, Miller 11 (Haydar, Pasquale), 1:33 sh; 6, Rockford, Gilbert 2 (DiDomenico, Lavin), 3:19 pp; 7, Rockford, Klinkhammer 17 (unassisted), 13:49; 8, Rockford, Olimb 10 (Pirri), 19:21. Penalties---Matheson, Chicago (delay of game), 1:58; Pasquale, Chicago (roughing), 9:32.
Overtime---9, Rockford, Taffe 30 (Klinkhammer, Stanton), 3:33. Penalties---None.
Shots on goal---Rockford: 8-10-19-1--38. Chicago: 10-9-19-3--41. Power plays---Rockford: 1-5. Chicago: 1-4. Goalies---Rockford, Toivonen (37-41). Chicago, Pasquale (33-38). A---10,091. Referee---Chris Ciamaga. Linesmen---Al Stensland and Brian Oliver.