ROCKFORD, Ill. — Dylan Sikura scored his first career AHL hat trick and added an assist to lead the Rockford IceHogs comeback from a three-goal deficit for a 7-4 win over the Chicago Wolves on Sunday afternoon.
Sikura, who missed Saturday’s game due to a one-game suspension for a high-sticking incident in Wednesday’s contest, tallied all three of his goals in a 5:59-minute span in the third period with one coming on a power play.
“It’s important for us to get the (power play) going there,” said Sikura, who leads the team with six goals and nine points. “The other two were just two good plays by my linemates (Matthew Highmore and his older brother Tyler Sikura) there and lucky enough to finish them off.”
Rockford head coach Derek King pointed to Dylan Sikura’s dominant performance as a way he can earn a call up to the Blackhawks.
“If he wants to get back to the top that’s what he’s got to do game in and game out,” King said. “He’s going to have off nights, but for the most part I’d like to see him play like that every night.”
Down 4-1 midway through the second period, Rockford (5-5) scored six unanswered goals to win its third straight overall and in the season series against Chicago (6-5-1) in front of 2,934 at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
MacKenzie Entwistle and Brandon Hagel each scored at even strength and Reese Johnson added an empty netter. Anton Wedin had three assists, including the primary helper on Hagel’s goal. Collin Delia stopped 21 of 25 shots for his third win against the Wolves this season.
“We have a lot of guys here that know how to win and understand games aren’t always going to go the way that you plan,” Highmore said. “We’ve done a good job of regrouping in between periods that we just play 20 minutes at a time and you see the benefit of it.”
Zach Whitecloud, Lucas Elvenes and Jimmy Schuldt gave Chicago a 3-0 lead six minutes into the second period. The game then took an exciting turn at 8:27 of the second period with three goals between the two teams in a 2:24-minute span.
Jacob Nilsson put the IceHogs on the scoreboard when he redirected Sikura’s shot from the top of the left circle past Oscar Dansk. Chicago regained a three-goal lead just 1:21 later as Nicolas Roy skated to the slot between Philipp Kurashev and Joni Tuulola then dropped a pass to Reid Duke, who dragged the puck to his backhand and fired a shot into the net. Philip Holm then sent a pass just 54 seconds later above the goal line to Entwistle in front of the net for the rookie to tap in his second goal in three games.
“Guys started battling, drew some penalties and we capitalized and kept going from there,” King said. “We had to make some adjustments and maybe shuffle a couple players here and there, but the guys battled hard.”
Keegan Koeslar had a chance to put the Wolves back up by three late in the second when he got behind Ian McCoshen on a breakaway, but Delia made a sliding stop with his right pad.
Sikura started Rockford’s scoring blitz on the power play midway through the third when he ripped a shot from the top of the left circle. Hagel kept things going 1:25 later with a one-timer into a wide-open net below the hashmarks. Only 1:31 ticked off the clock before Sikura netted his second of the game off a one-timer from Highmore at the right dot. Sikura then completed the hat trick with 3:20 remaining off a pass from his brother, Tyler.
- Dylan Sikura — 3 goals (1 PP), 1 primary assist. 6 shots
- Anton Wedin — 3 assists (1 primary), 1 shot
- Jacob Nilsson — 1 goal (PP), 2 shots
Rockford hosts the Toronto Marlies (Maple Leafs) at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.