They may have collected some bumps and bruises along the way in a game that racked up 67 penalty minutes, but the Chicago Wolves picked up their prettiest win of the season Friday night at Allstate Arena, 7-1 over the Rockford IceHogs.
The two teams are well-known for getting scrappy with one another. Last season, Rockford and Chicago compiled 174 penalty minutes in a single game. In 2008, the two teams combined for 186 penalty minutes in a single game.
Perhaps the IceHogs (11-11-0-1) ate just a little too much at Thanksgiving dinner, but the Wolves (10-8-0-2) set the tone early, scoring three goals in the first 10 minutes of the game, and chasing IceHogs starter Kent Simpson (3 GA on 6 shots) from the net. His replacement, Mac Carruth (4 GA on 22 shots) was not much better.
Wolves defenseman Taylor Chorney sparked the offense, scoring the opening goal just over three minutes in. It was the first of two goals on the night for Chorney, matching his career-high, which he set against Rockford as well while with Oklahoma City.
“He skates like Paul Coffey,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “Awesome, awesome skater, and can turn it on a dime. Really happy to see him get on track.”
Chorney’s first goal came soon after Wolves defenseman Joel Edmundson was assessed a game misconduct after getting into a scrap after the whistle with Rockford’s Bobby Shea. His second tally put the game out of reach, making it 4-0 early in the second period.
“Every shot was dangerous,” said Wolves left wing Dmitrij Jaskin. Chicago scored on five of its first ten shots.
“We just have to keep simplifying things,” added Chorney. “Even if it’s at a bad angle, just put it on net. Tonight, we got rewarded for that.”
Another Wolves defenseman, Cade Fairchild, also provided a push to the offensive attack. Fairchild added three assists, two of which came on power play goals. The Wolves finished 3-for-8 on the power play after going just 1-for-25 over their last six games.
“We were working on some stuff this morning and we did exactly what we wanted to do,” said Anderson.
The offensive explosion was just what Chicago needed to get back on track, having lost their previous three games, scoring just four total goals in those games.
“We said enough is enough,” said Chorney. “Let’s just start getting pucks to the net and just keep shooting and shooting. That has to be a staple to our team.”
Friday night’s game was the second of twelve matchups between Rockford and Chicago as part of the Illinois Lottery Cup. The teams will play Saturday in Rockford as the second half of a back-to-back.