Proving there is no love lost between division rivals in the hunt for the playoffs, the Rockford IceHogs had their way with the Chicago Wolves on Friday night, earning a 7-3 victory at Harris Bank Center.
Right wing Ben Smith made a hat trick to pace the IceHogs (39-31-2-1).
Rockford set a record for most shots in a game against the Wolves. The previous record was 56 at Milwaukee on February 10, 1995. The IceHogs outshot the Wolves 57-33.
Chicago left wing Brett Sterling started scoring for the Wolves (35-27-5-4) off an unassisted shot that trickled past Rockford goalie Carter Hutton after he thought he'd stopped it at 8:30 of the first frame.
Responding in kind, Smith used a power play to even the score at 17:43, taking a cross-crease feed and blasting the puck over Matt Climie stick side.
Rockford center Brandon Pirri put the IceHogs ahead early in the second with a break-away, short-handed score on Climie that started with a steal at center ice and ended with a perfectly placed shot over the netminder's glove at 1:42.
Rostislav Olesz, assisted by Kyle Beach and Pirri, got another quick goal for Rockford, deeking Climie out for a score and to make it 3-1 Rockford with 2:39 gone in the period.
Climie, who was 1-5 this season against Rockford, let his frustration boil over minutes later. He took a roughing penalty and sent Rockford back to the power play. The IceHogs had taken 28 shots at Climie by midway through the second frame, while Chicago had responded with 20 at Hutton.
Defenseman Eric Kattelus tried to right the ship, capitalizing on a Wolves power play with his third goal of the season, going top shelf on Hutton at 15:58 to close the gap on Rockford and make it a one-goal game.
Without missing a beat, Smith followed up Kattelus with his second of the game at 19:15, picking up a rebound and firing it back into the mesh to put Rockford up 4-2.
The Wolves made a change in net at the start of the third, replacing Climie with Joe Cannata, but it didn't slow the IceHogs. 2:37 into frame, left wing Kyle Beach wound up and ripped a slap shot over Cannata's right shoulder to extend the team's lead to 5-2.
Unsatisfied with a two-goal game, Smith went for the hat trick on another power play, slapping a puck over a sprawled out Cannata at 7:57.
Like the teams' last meeting at Chicago on March 17, a brawl broke out late in the third period that sent several players to the locker room early.
Jeremy Morin added another IceHogs goal following the fight, a tap-in score at 16:00 of the third. Wolves defenseman Jim Vandermeer potted one more score for Chicago at 19:31.