Chicago, Ill.-The Chicago Wolves offense proved to be too much for the Rockford IceHogs in Game 2 of their Central Division Semifinal Saturday night. The Wolves dominated possession in their 4-1 victory, taking a 2-0 series lead.
After a convincing 6-2 win in Game 1, it was more of the same for Chicago, who blitzed the IceHogs zone to the tune of 49 shots on goal. Rockford will attempt to stave off elimination in Game 3 at the BMO Harris Bank Center on Sunday.
The action resembled a twenty-minute power play for Chicago, who outshot Rockford 20-1 in the opening frame. Hogs goalie Arvid Soderblom kept the Wolves at bay until the 16:52 mark. Josh Leivo’s initial attempt in the slot was thwarted by Soderblom’s right pad, but the rebound found Leivo’s stick and Chicago had a 1-0 advantage.
The Wolves quickly doubled the lead with a C.J. Smith tally less than two minutes later. Smith’s one-timer was set up by deft passing from Andrew Poturalski, to Josh Jacobs, and then to Smith.
Rockford fell behind 3-0 midway through the game after the Wolves won an offensive zone draw. Max Lajoie handled the puck, skated in a few strides and fired past Soderblom at 11:51 of the second period.
Rockford’s lone highlight came on a power play chance a few moments later. It was a breathtaking individual rush up the ice by Alec Regula that saw him split the defense at the Chicago blue line. The Hogs defenseman lifted the puck over the blocker of Wolves goalie Alex Lyon at the 13:19 mark.
The Hogs were unable to close the gap any further, as Chicago outshot them 18-5. Vasili Ponomarev sent a wide-angle shot toward the Rockford crease. The puck glanced off Hogs defenseman Jakub Galvas and into the cage to close out the scoring 13:54 into the third.
- The IceHogs have found it difficult to generate any kind of sustained offense throughout the two games in Rosemont. As a result, Rockford faces a sweep unless that changes Sunday.
- Rockford had success against Chicago despite being regularly outshot by the Wolves in the regular season. The difference in the postseason is that the IceHogs have not figured out a way to keep the score close until they can counterpunch.
- Chicago has been able to skate into the real estate between the circles with ease. The looks they have been getting have been too much for the besieged Soderblom. The rookie posted a .918 save percentage Saturday and it wasn’t even close to being enough to keep Rockford in the contest.
- Game 3 begins Sunday in Rockford at 4:00 p.m. CT.
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