After an ugly end to the first half of the season last night for the Chicago Wolves, John Anderson lit into his team during the postgame press conference. Chicago had just allowed eight power play chances for the Toronto Marlies in a 3-2 overtime loss.
“It’s just disappointing as a team,” said Anderson of last night’s performance. “To see us back Jake (Allen) up like that, it’s disappointing.”
Although Chicago (21-14-2-2) only came out 2-1 winners, the Wolves dominated play from the second period on Saturday night before a season-high crowd of 16,005 at Allstate Arena against rival Rockford (18-18-4-2).
“This was one of our best team games in a while,” said Ty Rattie, who scored the game-winner for the Wolves on a redirect at 12 minutes, 31 seconds in the third period.
Early on, it looked like Saturday night’s game might feature more of the same from last night. Chicago failed to convert on an early power play chance and gave up three power play opportunities to Rockford in the game’s first 20 minutes.
“First two or three shifts, they were on us,” said Anderson. “After that I thought we settled down.”
Contrary to their struggles last night, the Wolves killed off all three penalties to keep the game scoreless.
Nathan Longpre got Chicago on the board after Sebastian Wannstrom slid a pinpoint pass from the right side to him and he rifled it past IceHogs goaltender Jason LaBarbera.
However, just a minute later, Rockford tied the game with a goal from Pat Mullane on a rebound attempt given up by Allen.
The Wolves took back the momentum in the second period, outshooting Rockford 13-4, but could not put the go-ahead goal past Jason LaBarbera.
“You can’t lose confidence,” said Ty Rattie. “You’ve got to have confidence throughout the game.”
Despite not finding the net in the second, Chicago stuck to the game plan, and in the third period, the hard work finally paid off with Rattie’s game-winner. It was his third game-winning goal this season.
“We pushed them, didn’t score,” said Anderson. “Eventually, something has to give.”
Chicago could not have asked to a better start to the second half of the season, especially with a five-game road trip coming up to close out the month.
“We needed this win for our confidence, said Longpre.
“We understand how good of a team we have,” added Rattie. “We’ve got to just take it game-by-game and I think we’ll be happy with the outcome at the end of the season.”