Chicago Wolves forward Rob Bordson scored two goals in the third period, but the Rockford IceHogs held on for a 4-3 victory Friday night in an Illinois Lottery Cup clash at the MetroCentre.
Forward Yannick Veilleux scored the other goal while center Robby Fabbri notched two assists in his professional debut for the Wolves, who lost for just the third time in the last 13 games.
The loss means Chicago (39-28-6-1) cannot earn a seed higher than No. 6 in the Western Conference's side of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Rockford (46-22-5-2) opened the scoring with Alex Broadhurst's power-play goal at 18:16 of the first period. Wolves goaltender Matt Climie stopped Stephen Johns' initial blast from the point, but the rebound came out to the slot. Peter Regin tapped it to Broadhurst at the right faceoff dot for a one-timer past the diving Climie.
The Wolves made it 1-1 at 7:13 of the second on Veilleux's ninth goal of the year. Jacob Doty chased down the puck in the right corner, found Veilleux flashing down the left side and centered a pass toward the crease for a quick shot past Rockford goaltender Michael Leighton.
The IceHogs regained a 2-1 edge at 14:41 in the second when Cody Bass drew a faceoff back to rookie Tanner Kero at the top of the left circle. Climie got a piece of Kero's blast, but the puck trickled across the goal line.
Rockford turned another faceoff win into another goal at 18:33 of the second. Viktor Svedberg's shot from the point went wide of the net, but Ryan Hartman claimed the carom behind the net and backhanded it to Bass just outside the crease for a tap-in.
Chicago pulled within 3-2 with 6:14 gone in the third on Bordson's first goal since Dec. 21. Joel Edmundson's rocket from the point went wide of the net, but ricocheted off the boards into the slot where Bordson banged home the rebound. Fabbri earned his first professional point as he set up Edmundson's shot.
Bass notched his second goal of the night at 11:04 shortly after the Wolves killed a penalty. He carried the puck along the left wall below the extended goal line and flung a backhand shot off backup goaltender Jordan Binnington's pants into the net.
The Wolves' Bordson answered again at 12:37 as Fabbri sprinted through the neutral zone and stick-handled his way into the left corner. He worked the puck toward the left faceoff dot where Bordson one-timed it past Leighton.
Climie stopped 16 of 19 shots in the first two periods before being replaced by Binnington (24-15-4), who rejected 5 of 6 shots and was tagged with the loss. Leighton (22-13-4) posted 26 saves to earn the win.
The Wolves return to Allstate Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday against Milwaukee and 4 p.m. Sunday versus Toronto for the final two games of the regular season.
-- Chicago Wolves
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