By Chris Block
Rockford IceHogs capped a weekend home set on Sunday night with a second-consecutive shootout victory, this time over the Chicago Wolves.
The season’s first meeting between Interstate 90 rivals delivered the back-and-forth action and volatility their games typically inspire.
Chicago’s season has been off to an inauspicious beginning (4-9-1-0) despite a roster full of talent that would suggest better results. The Wolves are now the affiliate of the NHL expansion Vegas Golden Knights, while also carrying a handful of the St. Louis Blues top prospects. Next season, the Blues will be with AHL San Antonio exclusively. But for now, frequent roster juggling, particularly on the Vegas’ end, has made it difficult for the Wolves’ squad to build much chemistry.
On Sunday, Rockford saw a late 2-goal lead slip away as the Wolves fought back to a tie on tally’s by defenseman Jake Walman and captain Paul Thompson – the latter a short-handed goal off a Laurent Dauphin giveaway.
Vince Hinostroza was once again the hero for the home team. Hinostroza dangled his way to a highlight reel goal midway through the first and had one of two of the IceHogs goals in the shootout.
Jeff Glass, on his 32nd birthday, was between the pipes for Rockford and stopped 34 shots and another 2 Wolves’ shooters in the skills competition en route to his 5th consecutive win. Glass got both starts on the weekend with J-F Berube having lost his last 5 starts after beginning the season 5-0.
Hinostroza notched his 8th goal of the season at 11:21 of the first period when he methodically stickhandled down the slot, weaving through defenders before beating Wolves’ starter C.J. Motte with a forehand wrister. Tomas Jurco and Viktor Svedberg picked up the assists. For Svedberg, it snapped a stretch of 26 AHL games without a helper – his former coming on an Evan Mosey tally on February 27th of last season versus Cleveland.
The Wolves got even four minutes later when Glass got a piece of an initial shot, but the puck trickled behind him and stopped on the goal line. Ivan Barbashev was first to the loose puck and poked it over the line for his 3rd of the season at 15:32.
Luke Johnson put Rockford ahead again with 28.6 seconds to go in the period when he re-directed Alexandre Fortin’s shot from high in the zone, just squeezing through Motte’s five hole.
The second period saw Rockford get the game’s first power play, only to have Jurco negate the last quarter of it. William Pelletier was sent to the box shortly after Rockford killed off the Jurco minor, but the home team was able to kill that off as well.
On to the third, Johnson and Fortin hooked for the second time in the game when Johnson received a Fortin centering pass at the net for an easy tap in behind Motte, putting the ‘Hogs up 3-1 at 5:39.
With just over six minutes to go, Jake Walman flipped in a shot from the point that got past Glass to get the Wolves within a goal.
Rockford’s power play continued its recent woes on this night, going 0 for 4 in the game, but also giving up a short-handed tally with 3:07 to play in regulation.
With Brandon Pirri off for high-sticking, Laurent Dauphin attempted a pass across the blue line, just inside Chicago’s zone. The pass was picked off by Keegan Kolesar before it could make it to its intended target, Luc Snuggerud. Kolesar chipped the puck ahead to Paul Thompson who raced in and beat Glass to tie the game at 3-3.
Momentum in the 3-on-3 overtime was all in Rockford’s favor until Erik Gustafsson was cited for interference, giving the Wolves a 4-on-3 power play opportunity they failed to even register a shot on.
Jurco was Rockford’s chosen first shooter in the skills session. His wrister sailed wide to the left of the cage. Teemu Pulkkinen’s attempt then careened off the right post. Hinostroza went for a similar approach as he did in the previous night’s shootout. This time he also deked to his backhand and beat the netminder. Pirri was next for Chicago. He skated wide to the right and took a very slow approach; ultimately sending his forehand bid too far left of the net. David Kampf sealed the extra point, firing his shot by Motte’s blocker.
The IceHogs improve to 3-0 in shootouts on the season. Hinostroza is 2 for 2 in shootout attempts this season. For whatever reason, he was not one of Rockford’s chosen 3 shooters in the team’s other shootout versus Grand Rapids back on October 20th.
Rockford (10-7-0-0) is off until Wednesday when the Iowa Wild visit on Thanksgiving Eve.
Jeremy Colliton’s lines, pairing and scratches:
23-Vince Hinostroza / 7-David Kampf / 13-Tomas Jurco
26-Alexandre Fortin / 9-Matthew Highmore / 37-Luke Johnson
11-Matheson Iacopelli / 18-Laurent Dauphin / 27-Andreas Martinsen
49-Graham Knott / 28-Tyler Sikura / 16-William Pelletier
6-Erik Gustafsson / 32-Carl Dahlstrom
4-Luc Snuggerud / 29-Ville Pokka
8-Viktor Svedberg / 21-Robin Norell
30-Jeff Glass (starter)
Healthy Scratches: none
Injuries: D-24-Darren Raddysh (upper, non-head) … LW-45-Anthony Louis (officially unknown)…
Power Play I: Jurco-Kampf-Martinsen w/ Gustafsson & Hinostroza
Power Play II: Highmore-Dauphin-Johnson w/ Snuggerud & Pokka
PK Forwards: Highmore-Johnson, Kampf-Jurco
PD Defense: Svedberg-Norell, Snuggerud-Pokka
Chicago Wolves lineup Sunday 11/19/2017 at Rockford
3-Teemu Pulkkinen / 23-Stefan Matteau / 14-Beau Bennett
27-Brandon Pirri / 32-Ivan Barbashev / 17-Paul Thompson
29-Brett Sterling / 18-T.J. Tynan / 20-Keegan Kolesar
15-Mackenzie MacEachern / 25-Tobias Lindberg / 26-Bryce Gervais
10-Jason Garrison / 36-Chris Castro
4-Petteri Lindbohm / 28-Jake Bischoff
2-Keith Aulie / 37-Jake Walman
30-C.J. Motte (starter)