In front of a sellout crowd of 16,005, the Chicago Wolves gave their fans plenty to cheer about with a 2-1 victory over the Rockford IceHogs in an Illinois Lottery Cup game Saturday night at the Allstate Arena.
Forward Nathan Longpre and right wing Ty Rattie lit the lamp in front of the electric season-high crowd. Goaltender Jake Allen (16-9-2) kicked out 23 shots.
"After last night (a 3-2 overtime loss to Toronto), we were able to get back to the way we want to play tonight," said Wolves head coach John Anderson. "After the third or fourth shift, we played our brand of puck possession."
The Wolves (21-14-2-2) opened the scoring 15:33 into the game on Longpre's third goal of the season. The play started in the defensive zone, as defenseman Cade Fairchild corralled the puck and banked it off the boards up to right wing Sebastian Wannstrom.
Wannstrom streaked into the zone and fed a cross-crease pass to Longpre, who snapped it top shelf over IceHogs goaltender Jason LaBarbera.
Just 1:04 later, Rockford (18-18-4-2) knotted the score 1-1. After a pass got through the defenders, left wing Terry Broadhurst sent a shot on net, causing a scrum in front of Allen. As multiple players swarmed the crease, center Pat Mullane found the puck and flipped it over the goalie's outstretched pad for the equalizer.
The Wolves controlled much of a scoreless second period, holding Rockford to 4 shots, but they were unable to find the go-ahead goal until 12:31 of the final period.
Defenseman Taylor Chorney maneuvered to keep the puck in the offensive zone and under Wolves possession, sending it to left wing Dmitrij Jaskin at the point. Jaskin skated along the blue line and whipped a shot on net that was cleanly redirected by Rattie, who was positioned in front of LaBarbera.
LaBarbera (2-4-2) made 34 saves and suffered the loss.
Chicago's next game is 6 p.m. Tuesday at Utica. The Wolves return to the Allstate Arena at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1, against Midwest Division foe Iowa.