The Chicago Wolves fought back to forge a 2-2 tie with 7:14 remaining, but the Rockford IceHogs countered with the game-winning goal 3:20 later to earn a 3-2 Illinois Lottery Cup victory Friday night at the Allstate Arena.
Forwards Bill Sweatt and Tim Miller scored for the Wolves (30-19-1-3), who lost at home for the first time in five outings and saw their four-game winning streak snapped.
"We got out of sync in the second period and it ended up costing us," said Wolves coach Craig MacTavish. "We got away from the things we have been doing so well lately."
The verdict put a damper on Wolves captain Nolan Baumgartner's 1,000th professional game. The popular defenseman will be honored today during a pregame ceremony.
With the Wolves trailing 2-1 in the third period, Miller knotted the score at 2-2 at 12:46. Center Steve Reinprecht's shot from the near point was stopped by Rockford goaltender Carter Hutton, but Miller converted the rebound.
Center Brandon Pirri of the IceHogs (22-26-2-4) netted the game-winning tally with 3:54 remaining in the contest beating goaltender Eddie Lack (32 saves).
The Wolves, who host Abbotsford today at 7 p.m., scored first at 14:34 of the opening period when Sweatt sent a shot through the crease and a Rockford defender slapped the shot away toward the back boards behind the net. The puck bounced off the boards to the top of the net, trickled over the net, bounced off goaltender Carter Hutton's back and crossed the goal line.