Exchanging leads throughout the contest, a late shorthanded goal from Jeremy Morin helped the Rockford IceHogs prevail in a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Wolves in an Illinois Lottery Cup matchup at the BMO Harris Bank Center on Friday night.
Despite being on the penalty kill late in the third period of a 3-3 tilt, Brandon Pirri and Morin corralled the puck from the Rockford zone and sprung a 2-on-1 shorthanded break. Delivering back-and-forth passes, Morin ended up potting the game-winning shorthanded goal on Pirri's feed to notch the Hogs 4-3 victory.
Though seven goals were record, most of the first frame went scoreless until Terry Broadhurst connected at the 15:14 mark. Camped out in front of Wolves goaltender Joe Cannata, Pirri delivered a pass to the Broadhurst, who snapped his fifth goal of the season over Cannata's right shoulder.
Just 46 seconds into the middle frame and on their first power-play of the contest, Darren Haydar's pass from the faceoff circle to Nicklas Jensen in the slot resulted in the winger knotting the score at 1-1.
The tie lasted for eight minutes before the Wolves took their first lead of the game. A Haydar off-angle shot was deflected by Henrik Karlsson, however the Swedish goaltender couldn't contain the rebound as Andrew Gordon popped the puck over Karlsson's right shoulder to put Chicago out in front 2-1.
Four minutes later, the Hogs equalized the score at 2-2. While Ben Smith screened Cannata and drew two defensemen in to clog the shooting lane, Martin St. Pierre passed wing-to-wing to an open Morin, who one-timed the puck into the back of the net for his first goal of the contest.
However, Chicago retook the lead with 1:02 remaining in the period. While on their third power play, Jordan Schroeder's shot was stopped by Karlsson, yet Darren Archibald positioned himself on the doorstep and trickled the puck over the line to give the Wolves a 3-2 edge going into the final period.
At 5:45 of the third frame, Adam Clendening banked the puck off the boards behind the net to Pirri, whose shot deflected off of Brad Mills and over the goal line to square the game up at 3-3.
After Morin's game-winning goal, and his second of the evening, at the 17:24 mark, the Hogs went right back on the penalty kill at 17:47 when Shawn Lalonde was called for boarding. Nonetheless, the Hogs managed to hold off the Wolves' 6-on-4 attack when they pulled Cannata for the final minute and completed the 4-3 victory.
Each team fired 29 shots on goal, but Karlsson bested with 26 saves to earn his fifth victory on the campaign.
Next Home Game: Saturday, Mar. 16 vs. Peoria. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The IceHogs and Rivermen square off in another Illinois Lottery Cup matchup. The game is the ninth of 12 on the season between the two squads.