Rookie goaltender Collin Delia snuffed out 31 of the 32 shots sent his way as the Rockford IceHogs fend off the Chicago Wolves 2-1 in Game 1 of their Central Division semifinal on Saturday.
“It was a great composed game all around,” says Delia. “The penalties that we were called on I think were pretty marginal. I thought we had great emotional control tonight.”
Tyler Sikura struck first for the Hogs. The team’s MVP deflected in a shot from Cody Franson in the first period while Rockford was on the power play. That goal marked the 8th straight game against the Wolves in which the IceHogs scored with an extra man.
“I thought we played a pretty disciplined game for the most part in terms of our structure,” says Sikura. “We didn’t give them a whole heck of a lot of rush offense. Which is obviously the key for us this series. They’ve got some skilled players.”
In the second period defenseman Adam Clendening fired in the IceHogs second power play goal of the night.
The Wolves did make things interesting in the third period when Teemu Pulkkinen scored on a power play at 5:31 of the third period. It was Pulkkinen’s 23rd career Calder Cup Playoff goal and his 10th goal in 13 games against Rockford this season.
Both teams will now head west down Interstate-90 for game two in Rockford. The puck is set to drop at 4 p.m. CT at the BMO Harris Bank Center.