Tyler Sikura scored twice, including the game-winning goal with 12 seconds remaining in overtime, to lift the Rockford IceHogs to a 3-2 win over the Chicago Wolves to sweep the weekend series Saturday at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.
Sikura forced a turnover by Curtis McKenzie, which Joni Tuulola grabbed tossed back to Sikura to go top shelf on a breakaway against Garret Sparks for the IceHogs to improve to 2-3 after starting the season 0-3.
The IceHogs took the lead for a fifth straight game with Sikura’s first tally 12:22 into the game after his shot knocked off defenseman Brayden Pachal and into the net.
Pachal redeemed himself less than 3 minutes later when he found Elvenes to the right of the net for the rookie to tap it his third goal of the season to tie it 1-1.
Rockford had a big opportunity at the end of the first period with a 4-minute power play when Jake Leschyshyn drew blood with a high stick on Dennis Gilbert. The IceHogs, however, only mustered three shots during the man advantage.
Rockford and Chicago (1-4) then exchanged scoring opportunities in the opening half of the second frame. Anton Wedin found himself wide open in the slot only to have his stick snap on him then Chicago’s Dylan Coghlan fired a shot off the post, and Tomkins stopped Quinney’s rebound attempt in front.
The IceHogs killed off two penalties in the second to keep the game 1-1.
Rockford regained the lead 4:50 into the third when Aleksi Saarela dropped the puck back to Holm, who fired it from the top of the left faceoff circle past Sparks.
The IceHogs then lost forward John Quenneville for the game after he was crushed into the boards in front of the IceHogs’ bench. He sat on the bench briefly before skating under his own power to the dressing room.
Alexandre Fortin nearly put the game away for the IceHogs on a shorthanded opportunity 1-on-1 against Sparks, but he couldn’t settle the puck to get a clean shot off. McKenzie scored the other way when his centering pass redirected off a sliding Gilbert, and past Matt Tomkins, who made 31 saves in his first AHL start since April 7, 2018, against Texas.
Rockford is still searching for its first power play goal after going 0-for-3 on the man advantage and is now 0-for-15 this season. The IceHogs nearly escaped without allowing a power play for the first time this season until McKenzie’s tally.
Defenseman Adam Boqvist missed his second straight game with a facial injury after taking a puck to the mouth during Friday’s morning skate. Rockford head coach Derek King said it was a precautionary measure. Forward Kris Versteeg also did not play Saturday after “tweaking” a hip in the first period of Friday’s game.
- Tyler Sikura (RFD) — 2 goals (Game-winner)
- Garret Sparks (CHI) — 36 saves on 39 shots
- Dylan Sikura (RFD) — 1 primary assist, 8 game-high shots
The IceHogs will have almost a week off from game action until they play a back-to-back against the Monsters on Friday and Saturday in Cleveland.