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Penalties in the third prove costly for Wolves

Updated: December 30, 2012 3:56PM

Careless mental mistakes in the most crucial moments doomed the Wolves in a 4-2 loss against the Rockford IceHogs on Wednesday at Allstate Arena.

The Wolves (8-7-2-1) blew a 2-1 lead after taking two penalties early in the third period — both of which resulted in goals. The team took three penalties in the third and seven total.

The Wolves’ penalty kill ranks last in the AHL, but the unit was having one of its best nights of the season. It held the IceHogs scoreless through their first four power plays before allowing the two third-period goals on back-to-back power plays.

“You’ve got to think the game,” Wolves head coach Scott Arniel said. ‘‘I’ve told these guys before, you want to play at the next level, you’ve got to be able to think the game.”

Right wing Zack Kassian scored the game’s first goal at 1:13 in the first period. It was the fifth time this season Kassian has scored the first goal of a game. Jordan Schroeder scored to extend the Wolves’ lead at 13:48 in the second period.

Playing well in the defensive zone, it looked as if the Wolves might get a shutout.

But the IceHogs (10-9-0-1)
caught the Wolves in an odd-man rush and Martin St. Pierre cut the lead to a goal when he beat Wolves goalie Matt Climie at 14:55 in the second.

Rockford wings Jeremy Morin and Ben Smith scored power-play goals at 4:59 and 7:12 respectively in the third period to give the IceHogs the lead for good.

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