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Rockford IceHogs hold off Chicago Wolves 3-2 for first win of season

Rockford scored three first-period goals.

The Rockford IceHogs celebrate a first-period goal during their 3-2 win over the Chicago Wolves on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, at the BMO Harris Center in Rockford.
Brad Repplinger/Rockford IceHogs

ROCKFORD, Ill. — The IceHogs scored first for the fourth consecutive game, and held onto the lead for their first win of the season, 3-2 over the Chicago Wolves on Friday in front of 2,827 at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

Dylan Sikura, John Quenneville and Anton Wedin scored first-period goals, and Collin Delia stopped 29 of 31 shots in his third start of the season.

Jaycob Megna and Gage Quinney tallied goals, and Lucas Elvenes had two assists for the Wolves (1-3). Elmhurst, Illinois native Garret Sparks made 30 saves in the loss.

Rockford started its scoring ways four seconds after a power play expired when Brandon Hagel picked up the puck in the corner then skated to the right faceoff dot and fired a shot on net, which Dylan Sikura redirected into the net for 1-0 lead at 5:28 for his third goal in four games.

After taking a 1-0 lead, the IceHogs found themselves on the penalty kill for 6 minutes as Lucas Carlsson sat for a 4-minute double minor high sticking then took an interference penalty as he played the puck before stepping out of the box completely.

Quenneville scored a shorthanded tally on the second penalty at 12:48 when he had and 2-on-1 with Alexandre Fortin, whose shot went wide of the net then he grabbed a rebound and sent a feed to Quenneville to tap it into the net for a 2-0 lead.

Wedin made it 3-0 with 1:36 remaining in the first when he picked up a loose puck at the right faceoff dot after Jacob Nilsson crashed into the net and fired it past Sparks.

Kris Versteeg did not return to the bench for the second period and was out for the rest of the game due to what Rockford head coach Derek King called a “tweaked hip.”

Elvenes help up the Wolves on the scoreboard when he grabbed a turnover by Nicolas Beaudin in the Rockford zone and delayed a shot to pull Delia out of position then sent a pass to Megna, who fired into a wide open net to make it 3-1 just 5:03 into the second frame.

Dach looked to create a scoring chance with an offensive zone entry attempt, but Megna stood him up and pancaked him. Dach, however, responded a few shifts later in the frame as he skated down the right side toward the net, but Sparks made the stop.

The Wolves had a few chances late in the second on the power play, but Delia kept the IceHogs up 3-1.

Midway through the third, Curtis McKenzie checked Dach into the boards and knocked the first rounders’ helmet off. Dach, who is on a conditioning assignment due to a concussion in September, picked up his helmet then skated to the bench and put it back on and looked fine the rest of the game.

The Wolves started to gain momentum a few moments later then drew a slashing penalty from Hagel, which they capitalized on with Quinney tapping it a cross-crease pass from McKenzie with 7:52 remaining. The goal marked the fourth straight game Rockford has allowed a score on the man advantage.

Five minutes later, Aleksi Saarela sold a roughing penalty on Tyrell Goulbourne and the IceHogs milked about a minute off the clock by playing keep away before the penalty was called. The IceHogs didn’t record a single shot on net during the power play as they fell to 0-for-5 on the man advantage for the game and 0-for-11 this season.

Dach update

Dach recorded three shots on goal while centering the top line with Matthew Highmore and Dylan Sikura. Dach generated more offense than his two previous games, but again struggled with physical play.

Boqvist update

King said defenseman Adam Boqvist did not play due to taking a puck to the mouth during Friday’s morning skate. With Boqvist out, Philip Holm was paired with Beaudin on the second pairing and Krys dropped down to the third line with Joni Tuulola.

What’s next?

The IceHogs play the second half of a home-and-home against the Wolves at 7 p.m. Saturday at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.