The Rockford IceHogs (12-18-1-0) defeated the Chicago Wolves (20-9-1-2) by a score of 4-1 on Friday night at BMO Harris Bank Center.
Matt Tomkins and Beck Warm were the goaltenders for their respective clubs and Tomkins got the better of the opening frame.
The IceHogs jumped on the Wolves early, holding a 6-0 shot advantage to begin the contest and lighting the lamp just past the halfway point. While in the offensive zone, Dmitry Osipov pinched in from the point and found the puck on his stick. In one motion, he beat Warm with a high shot for his second goal of the season. Dylan McLaughlin and Matej Chalupa earned assists on the play.
Chicago stormed back in the shot total department, but Rockford responded by adding another goal to double the lead. As the clock was winding down, Mitchell Fossier flicked the puck toward Warm, who allowed a rebound out of his glove right back to the charging Hogs forward. This allowed Fossier to net his fifth goal of the year and fourth in as many games.
The middle frame entailed much of the same from both clubs. Chicago kept pouring on the shots, but Tomkins maintained his composure. As it was in the first period, the IceHogs’ offensive attack remained consistent.
While shorthanded, Rockford won the draw in their own zone before Michael Krutil fed the puck to McLaughlin. The speedy forward went coast to coast and fired a shot high-blocker side on Warm to triple his team’s lead at 3-0. The tally tied McLaughlin with Chris Wilkie for the team lead in goals at eight. High-quality chances allowed Rockford to carry their lead into the second intermission despite the Wolves having a 20-17 shot advantage.
In the final period, Rockford continued their charge forward. Andrei Altybarmakyan joined in on the scoring fun with his fifth from Chalupa and Osipov. The tally came near the middle section and seemed to be the dagger that neutralized the high-octane Wolves’ attack.
However, later in the period, Tomkins saw his shutout disappear when a Tommy Novak shot pinballed around and eventually behind the IceHogs’ netminder. Luke Evangelista and Brandon Hickey assisted on Novak’s eighth goal.
But that’s all Chicago would get through 60 minutes. With the clock hitting 0:00, the IceHogs put a stamp on their 4-1 victory.
Due to the IceHogs’ strong offensive showing, it’s easy to overlook Matt Tomkins’ performance in net. He stopped 36 of the 37 shots he faced and made some crucial saves to keep momentum in his club’s favor. Giving credit where it’s due will go to the multi-point nights from Dmitry Osipov, Dylan McLaughlin, and Matej Chalupa. Those skaters each logged two points in the three-goal win.
IceHogs’ season ticket holders were treated to one of the team’s best performances of the season, a perfect way to send the BMO Harris Bank Center crowd home happy with just one game left to go in the 2021 campaign. Rockford will finish with a home record of 8-9-0-0.
What’s On Tap Next?
Both teams will have a quick turnaround as they get set for their final matchup of the season tomorrow night at Triphan Ice Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM CT.