ROSEMONT, ILL – Seven different scorers powered the Chicago Wolves to a 7-4 victory over the Rockford IceHogs at the Allstate Arena Saturday night. Seven goals is a season-high for the Wolves, who are now 5-0-1-0 in their last six games.
The Chicago Wolves began the game shooting 100% when Kevin Lough snapped a shot past goaltender Colin Delia to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead on his second goal of the season.
Eight minutes later, Tyler Sikura tied the game as he beat Kasimir Kaskisuo. Rockford would finish the opening frame with a 12-4 shots on goal advantage and the 2-1 lead when Anthony Louis buried the rebound from William Pelletier’s shot. Kaskisuo had made the initial stop but Nolan Valleau’s clearing attempt went straight to Louis.
Chicago began the second with 3:03 of power play time, and it took just 2:03 for the home team to tie the game. Brett Sterling recorded his 11th goal of the season, and 246th with Chicago, on a snapshot from the left circle.
Just 56 seconds later, Bryce Gervais pocketed his third goal of the season when he caught a saucer pass from T.J. Tynan to regain the lead for the Wolves. With that assist, Tynan improved his point streak to 11 in his past seven games (1G, 10A).
It took only another 1:32 for Chicago to push its lead to two goals as Tyler Wong recorded his own third goal of the season. Wong’s goal came on just Chicago’s seventh shot of the game.
Before the period was over, the Wolves would make it 5-2 in favor of the home team on their second power-play goal of the evening. Jake Bischoff’s second of the season came when the defenseman’s one-timer from the point beat Delia clear. Tynan had the primary assist on Bischoff’s goal, making it 12 points for the center in seven games.
Chicago’s fifth goal on just its 12th shot of the game chased Delia from the net and it was Matt Tomkins who took over tending goal for the final frame.
Mackenzie MacEachern recorded Chicago’s fifth unanswered goal at just 1:12 of the third when he wristed the puck just over the leg pad of Delia.
The Wolves hit a season-high seven goals only 5:49 into the third after Tynan won the faceoff back to Lough, whose one-timer from the point went off Teemu Pulkkinen and in.
Though that would mark the end of the scoring for Chicago, Rockford was able to notch two more goals before the final buzzer sounded on the 7-4 game.
With four points in his last five games, Bischoff’s work towards improving his offensive game seems to be paying off.
“I think I just need to work on finding opportunities to jump into the play. Obviously, fitness goes with that too, you need to be able to defense 20-25 seconds and still be able to jump in a rush. At the beginning of the year, when I was tired I would just change, but I’m going try to keep getting into better shape and keep jumping in more.”
The Wolves have had a lot of success on the power play recently, and the two tonight have showed just how important special teams has been to this team’s play. It was certainly big in tonight’s victory according to head coach Rocky Thompson.
“Great job by Sterling there. That really got us going. We scored that goal and we were fortunate that we were able to hit some shots after that, carry the momentum. Then Bischoff got an opportunity and the mentality was we just needed to get some pucks to the net.”
Seven goals from seven different players is really evidence of the depth this team has, and Rocky has been pleased by the play of everyone recently.
“[It’s] absolutely huge… these are guys contributing who weren’t necessarily high-scoring guys earlier on, but when you get in these situations and you get depleted, you have to have that depth scoring and everybody has to contribute.”
Kaskisuo made 21 saves in the win and the Chicago Wolves improved to 24-16-6-2 on the season.
The Wolves’ lone game next weekend is at the Iowa Wild Friday with a 7 p.m. puck drop. As always, be sure to follow @SinBinWolves for current news and game updates.