Rockford Spoils Sopel's Night
ROSEMONT, Ill. - On a night when the Chicago Wolves celebrated Brent Sopel's 1,000 professional games with a pregame ceremony, the Rockford IceHogs scored a pair of second-period goals to spark a 3-0 win Saturday night in an Illinois Lottery Cup game at Allstate Arena.
The Wolves (18-13-4-0) launched 18 shots in the third period in their bid to close the gap, but they could not solve veteran Rockford goaltender Michael Leighton.
"It's a 60-minute game. You have to look at it in its entirety," said Wolves head coach John Anderson. "They won two periods, we won one. I like their chances better than ours."
Rockford (21-11-3-1) opened the scoring 36 seconds into the second period as center Mark McNeill rushed down the left side all the way to the goal line. As Wolves goaltender Matt Climie shut down the near post, McNeill flipped a backhand pass meant to cross the crease to a teammate. Instead, it banked off a Wolves defenseman's skate into the open net.
The IceHogs improved their lead to 2-0 at 18:20 of the second as Phillip Danault fired from close range and Climie's save set off a fierce scramble in front of the net. Klas Dahlbeck collected the puck just outside the crease and flipped home a backhand.
Rockford's Garret Ross tacked on an empty-net goal with 1:15 to play. Leighton (9-7-2) posted 31 saves to earn his third American Hockey League shutout this season and 39th of his career.
Climie (8-8-3) finished with 35 saves, including several spectacular stops as he continued his strong recent play.
"He held us in there," Anderson said. "He was the reason we were around in the third period. We just couldn't find a way to beat Leighton."
The Wolves travel to Grand Rapids on Saturday and Iowa on Jan. 13 before returning to Allstate Arena to face the Lake Erie Monsters at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16. The Wolves will debut their Fight Against Cancer specialty jerseys that night. To get the best deals on tickets, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.
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American Hockey League Stories from January 3, 2015
- Admirals Stop Dogs, Snap Skid - Milwaukee Admirals
- Leighton Slams Door Shut on Wolves - Rockford IceHogs
- Admirals Grab Two Points Despite Losses to Phantoms - Norfolk Admirals
- Falcons Slip Past Sharks, 4-3, in Shootout - Springfield Falcons
- Winless Streak Hits Three For Bridgeport - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Rockford Spoils Sopel's Night - Chicago Wolves
- Marchessault Nets OT Winner, Blunden Draws - Syracuse Crunch
- Admirals Top Bulldogs 4-1 - Hamilton Bulldogs
- Phantoms Go Extra-Time to Win....Again - Lehigh Valley Phantoms
- B-Sens' Comeback Falls Short, Lose 5-4 in OT - Binghamton Senators
- Szwarz Nets SO Goal, McKenna Shuts out Bruins - Portland Pirates
- Sharks Stumble Late in 4-3 Shootout Loss in Springfield - Worcester Sharks
- Barons Win 7th Straight, 5-2 over Lake Erie - Oklahoma City Barons
- Checkers' Skid Continues with 4-1 Trouncing by Texas - Charlotte Checkers
- Amerks Come up Empty-Handed in 4-0 Loss to Flames - Rochester Americans
- Penguins Fall in Shootout to Bears - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
- Comets Edged 2-1 by the Wild - Utica Comets
- Wolf Pack beaten by IceCaps - Hartford Wolf Pack
- Monsters Fall to OKC 5-2 - Cleveland Monsters
- The P-Bruins Fall to Portland Pirates 1-0 in Shootout - Providence Bruins
- Albany Devils Erupt for Road Win - Albany Devils
- Laxdal Earns 500th Coaching Win in Stars 4-1 Triumph over Charlotte - Texas Stars
- IceCaps Whip Wolf Pack 7-3 - St. John's IceCaps
- Bears Battle Past Penguins in Shootout - Hershey Bears
- Wild Takes Down North Division Leading Utica 2-1 - Iowa Wild
- Rampage Notch 4-3 Overtime Win over Marlies - San Antonio Rampage
- Dallas Reassigns Jokipakka, Honka - Texas Stars
- Marlies Fall in Overtime 4-3 to Rampage - Toronto Marlies
- Monarchs Recall Kitsyn from Ontario - Manchester Monarchs
- Canucks Assign Tom Sestito to Comets - Utica Comets
- IceCaps Re-Sign Defenceman Parent to PTO - St. John's IceCaps
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