ROSEMONT, ILL – The Chicago Wolves saw their fourth player of the season net a hat trick en route to a 4-1 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals at the Allstate Arena. Stefan Matteau’s natural hat trick marked the first of his professional career and also the third by a Wolves player at home this season.
Though the teams combined for seven penalties in the first period, it was not until the fifth that someone would break open the game’s scoring. Matteau recorded his first of the night on the power play at 13:03 of the first when the forward dangled around an Admirals defender and put the puck past Anders Lindback.
If you thought the first period was full of penalties, the second featured 12 penalties – including calls stemming from three physical altercations. Neither the Wolves nor the Admirals capitalized on their respective turn on the man advantage, but that would not stop Matteau. His tenth of the season came when he poked the puck loose from an Admirals defender who had mishandled it at the Wolves blue line. Matteau then took the puck on a breakaway and put his own rebound into the net for a 2-0 Chicago lead.
The forward was not done, however, as he would score again a little over two and a half minutes later. His wrister beat Lindback short side for his seventh goal in nine games and third of the night. He had been pushing for the third goal all night.
“I think even when you have none you try to get a hat trick every game, but guys were giving me the puck and I was trying to get as many shots and I could. Luckily a couple went in,” said Matteau.
It was P.C. Labrie who spoiled Kasimir Kaskisuo’s shutout bid with just 45 seconds left before the second intermission.
While the third period only featured two penalties – both by the visiting team – Chicago squeaked out another power play goal before the game was over. This time, it was Paul Thompson with the empty-net power-play goal to seal the 4-1 victory for the Chicago Wolves.
Kaskisuo made 19 saves to extend the Wolves’ home win streak to a franchise-best 11 games and improve the team’s record to 23-15-6-2.
Before his recent hot streak, Matteau had been in a slight scoring slump but has now appeared to have found his groove. When asked what changed, the forward said,
“I think the shooting mentality. I’m playing with confidence and I’m shooting the puck whenever I can.”
Head coach Rocky Thompson was pleased with the play of everyone in a Wolves jersey tonight, saying,
“I was really pleased with the way our guys played… we were stingy, we were executing.”
The Wolves struggled a bit before the All-Star break, with four losses in their last ten games. Rocky felt they benefited a lot from the days’ rest.
“I think it was huge. I was really excited about how we started the game tonight. I thought we had a great start and we were able to maintain that energy level throughout the entire game, which was good. It was important. It was good not only physically for our guys… but mentally it was good and that hunger to come back and play and to be around each other.”
The Rockford IceHogs travel to Rosemont to take on the Chicago Wolves for a 7 p.m. puck drop. As always, be sure to follow @SinBinWolves on Twitter for current news and game updates.