After two wins for the Wolves last week, the Central Division leaders were hoping to continue their winning streak. The Wolves, who have won six games, were hoping to be a lucky No. 7 in Rockford on Wednesday night.

Beck Warm was expected to make his first start since mid-March with the Wolves on Wednesday. Due to Petr Mrazek’s injury, he spent time with Carolina and his booth. Now that Mrazek is healthy, Warm is back in action with the Wolves.

First period

The Wolves uncharacteristically fell behind in the first 10 minutes of Wednesday’s opening game. At 7:00, forward McKenzie Entwistle found himself on a breakout from the Wolves defense and slid the puck beautifully past Beck Warm for his third goal of the season.

Despite the early lead, the Ice Hogs did not let up on their gas. Just 40 seconds after the Ice Hogs took the lead, Rockford evened the score. This time it was former Wolves striker Brandon Pirri who lit the lamp.

IceHogs forward Josias Slavin makes a nice pass into traffic to find Pirri in the slot. A real marksman like Pirri doesn’t miss many of these chances.

The Wolves outscored the Ice Hogs in the first half, but came into the game. The Wolves led 13-8 in the first 20 minutes against the Ice Hogs.

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Second period

The Wolves finally broke through with the team’s top line in the middle of the lineup. Tanner Jeannot continued his attack and fed Philippe Tomasino with a beautiful pass from behind. The pass escaped Rockford’s grasp and landed perfectly on Tomasino’s blade for an easy shot.

Although the Wolves found some momentum, the Ice Hogs quickly let go of the Wolves’ energy. Just under four minutes after Tomasino gave the Ice Hogs the lead, Brandon Pirri struck again for the hosts. Nikolai Bodin and Josias Slavin provided the assists for this goal.

Pirri wasn’t finished. After scoring two goals, Pirri completed his hat-trick with a beautiful slap shot from the high slot.

Pirri was in perfect position to serve Andrei Altybarmakian from the wall. Pirrie’s shot was too strong for Warmbeck and the IceHogs led 4-1 after 40 minutes at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

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Third period

Despite the IceHogs only taking 14 shots in two periods, the Wolves got into a three goal hole. If there’s one thing Wolves fans have learned about this team this season, it’s that they never give up. The Wolves usually fight back in the first four minutes of the third.

Team superman Tanner Jeannot scored on his third possession of the game with 3:53 to go to cut the Hogs’ lead to two points. Jeannot made a great play and fell to the ice as he scored the puck for his tenth goal of the season.

The first half of the third was very much in the Wolves’ favor, with Philip Tomasino once again taking center stage. With a sensational pass in the slot, Tomasino’s relief enabled Dominic Bocca to score a beautiful goal and bring the Wolves back to within one point.

The Wolves scored twice and the Ice Hogs had three battles in the third period, but couldn’t secure the win. Wednesday night it was the Ice Hogs who won 4-3. 17 shots on the season was still enough to beat the Wolves in Rockford.

Assessment

Although the Wolves played pretty well, they ended up losing for the first time in a month. The Wolves’ last defeat came on March 6 against the Cleveland Monsters, who defeated the Wolves 3-1 that day. Since then, the Wolves have won six games with five different goalies, showing incredible team depth in this strange 2021 AHL season.

A big advantage for the Wolves was the play of Philippe Tomasino. The young Predator had a goal and two assists in the loss, giving him now 18 points in 16 games this season. He’s having an incredible campaign and the Predators have to be happy with the way he’s played at the AHL level, as he wouldn’t have been with the Wolves under normal circumstances.

Dominic Bock with another goal is also important. Bock is one of the team’s many first-round picks this season, so expectations are high for him as the year progresses. Coach Ryan Warsofsky noted after Saturday’s win, however, how good Bock has been lately. Seeing him flame out at the end of the season is a huge bonus for the Wolves.

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten Tanner Jeannot. Jeannot was a great player for the Wolves. He is the team’s top scorer, plays a hard, physical game and does everything the coaching staff asks of him. He’s having such a good season, he’ll have a bigger view of the Predators.

What now?

The Wolves return to action Friday and Saturday night against the Iowa Wild. Face-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. or 6 p.m. CDT. The Wolves are looking to win again this weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.

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