Both the Wolves and Rockford IceHogs were playing their third game in three days. They both played pretty much the same way – sloppy, occasionally disjointed and far from their best.
Only the IceHogs took advantage of their rare chances, beating the Wolves 3-0 on Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena. Garret Ross scored twice and Mac Carruth made 23 saves in his first AHL start of the season, completing a perfect 3-0 weekend for Rockford which also won its fourth straight.
And after the opening 10 minutes of the first period when the Wolves had three power plays, first-place Rockford (14-4-0-1, 29 points) dominated and extended its lead in the Midwest Division over the Wolves to four points.
“I think as a whole we just needed to weather the storm. The guys did a really good job,” Carruth said. “It was the best I’ve seen these guys play. I’ve only been up here for a little bit, it was the best I’ve seen them play.”
The Wolves, meanwhile, have been better. They finished their three-game weekend 1-1-1 and barely threatened Carruth after the opening stages of the game, and didn’t do much to support goalie Matt Climie (23 saves).
Wolves coach John Anderson would have liked more from his players, but understood that performances like Sunday’s happen in the third game in three days. An early goal might have swung things, but the Wolves (11-5-3-0, 25 points) couldn’t get one and set the tone for the rest of the day.
“When you’re a tired team it becomes a monkey on your back a bit,” Anderson said. “They were opportunistic. I don’t think there was a ton of chances either way but it was what it was.”