Cleat Geeks

Hungry like the Wolves: Chicago Wolves vs. Rockford IceHogs

ChicagoWolvesROSEMONT, Ill. – It was a packed house, 10,621, as the IceHogs came to town to continue the Illinois Lottery Cup on Saturday night.

Tonight’s game was the back end of a home to home series.  The IceHogs won on December 30 in Rockford by a score of 5-2 and lead the Illinois Lottery Cup with a 3-0-1-0 against the rival Wolves.

For the Wolves, RW Jordan Caron rejoins the Wolves after being sent down by the St. Louis Blues.  Caron shares the lead of ninegoals for the team, seven of them coming in his last nine appearances. Would he make a difference in tonight’s game?

For the IceHogs, RW Ryan Hartman continues to put up big numbers.  He has tallied ten goals and eight assists over twenty seven games for the IceHogs this season.

The Wolves came out fast to start the game by their first three shots in the first 1:20 of the game.  The Wolves are looking to break their losing streak and start the year off with a win.

binnington_jordan150304_2 (1)Both teams were aggressive at the start.  The Wolves were blown out 5-2 in their last meeting with the IceHogs and they are trying to not let that happen again.

The IceHogs got their first powerplay opportunity at 7:32 from a high stick by Wolves C Zach O’Brien.  The Hogs only managed one shot which was blocked away by Jordan Binnington of the Wolves.

The IceHogs outshot the Wolves 11-8 in the first despite not getting many shots early.  A surge of shots came around 2:20 left for the IceHogs but Binninghton shut the door.

The Wolves still had 1:09 on the powerplay entering the second period but failed to put the puck in the back of the net.

Rockford would get another powerplay opportunity at 7:33 as Wolves Cody Beach was sent off for too many men.  The Icehogs possessed the puck for most of the PP but failed to go ahead.  Shortly after it expired, Hogs C Marko Dano threw the puck toward the net but Binnington shut the door.

Despite still no score from the second period, the IceHogs definitely won the second.  They had more chances and really controlled the tempo of the game, especially in between the blue lines.

Jordan Binnington and the Wolves defensemen led by Scooter Vaughan shut the door on all of the Hogs twelve shots in the second period.  On the offensive end, the Wolves had their chances but IceHogs goalie Mark Visentin was phenominal through two periods.

The shots in the second period favored the IceHogs once again 12-7.ChrisButlerWolves

The third period started off with plenty of energy from both teams.  The Wolves failed on yet another powerplay opportunity keeping the score all knotted at zero.

A slapshot by Chris Butler led to a rebound opportunity for Zach O’Brien and lit the lamp as the Wolves went up 1-0 10:44 into the third period.

A high stick by Jeremy Welsh 12:10 into the third period was a 4 min penalty.  Also, LW Yannick Veilleux was sent to the box 11:37 into the third.

The IceHogs failed to score on the 5-3.  The Wolves successfully killed off the 4 minute high stick and it was still 1-0 with just under 3 minutes left to play.  The IceHogs had some chances left but couldn’t capitalize on them. Jordan Caron scored the empty netter to make it 2-0 and sealed the Wolves victory.

This was the first win in regulation for the Wolves vs. Rockford this season.  The other win came in overtime back on December 19 in Chicago.

ZachOBrienWolvesZach O’Brien had the game winning goal about halfway through the third period, his fourth of the year.  Talking to him after the game he had this to say about what he saw on that goal.

“We had an odd man rush…. I got a great cross ice pass that I felt I should have buried but later Butler got his shot through from the point and I picked up the rebound.”

Talking to Head Coach John Anderson after the game, when asked about the Rockford game earlier in the week he had this to say: “We just didn’t our checks really well in the last game. We played a great game [December 30] but their checks got us off our game a little bit.JohnAndersonWolves

For tonight’s game, he had this to say: “We competed a little bit more tonight.  Our goaltending was excellent…the game could have gone either way but it’s nice to get the win.

When asked about being outshot in the first two periods by the IceHogs, Anderson addressed that the team didn’t have a powerplay until late in the first.  “Also, I prefer quality shots rather than pucks just being thrown at the net. But, we rebounded and got the victory.”

This ended an ugly two game losing streak for the Wolves. On a positive note, they are 1-0 in the New Year.

The Wolves next game is January 3, 2016 at home vs. Lake Erie River Monsters. Lake Erie lost 3-1 to the Milwaukee Admirals Saturday night, putting them at 17-11 on the season.  The River Monster are currently five points ahead of the Chicago Wolves in the Western Conference.

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