The team that scored the first goal in the West Division Finals was the team to win the first three games of the series and Wednesday was no different. Rockford IceHog Martin St. Pierre put his team on the board late in the first as Rockford won 3-2 over the Chicago Wolves in game four of the West Division Final in Rockford.
Much like the regular season, the home team won again. "We've played pretty good games here at home and we have to figure out a way to win down there (in Chicago). We knew we were going to have to in this series to win the series with them having home ice," Rockford coach Mike Haviland said. "We have to have the same mentality that we've had at home here and bring it on the road. That's fight for every inch of the ice."
Wolves goaltender Ondrej Pavelec made the first stop on the shot by the IceHogs' Derek Nesbitt but was unable to recover as St. Pierre put it home over Pavelec's glove. Going into the game, Pavelec had went six games in the post season without allowing a first period goal and the Wolves had outscored their opponents 10-1 in the first. Rockford took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The second period started 4-on-4 with Chicago's Steve Martins and Jordan LaVallee and Rockford's Bryan Bickell, Michael Blunden, and Ryan Stokes all in the box for roughing at the 20 minute mark of the first period.
Just half a minute after the penalties expired, Troy Brouwer was able to sneak one past Pavelec early in the period to give the IceHogs a 2-0 lead. Brouwer was at it again late in the period for his second goal of the game. St. Pierre dove on the blue line to keep the puck in the Wolves zone and Nesbitt dished it cross ice to Brouwer, who promptly put in over Pavelec's shoulder with the one-timer. The last time the Wolves were shut out was 2-0 loss in game four of the West Division Semifinal.
Crawford's shutout bid ended in the third with a power play goal by Brian Fahey. Chicago scored after Crawford made the first save on the shot by Jesse Schultz but the puck bounced over his shoulder and into the net to make it 3-2.
"The first one kind of caught me a bit and the second one I just lost it. It was right in between. It wasn't high enough, it wasn't low enough. It took a funny bounce and I just couldn't find it," Crawford said.
Wolves pulled their goalie with minute remaining in regulation but an empty net goal by Dowell was disallowed due to a hand pass.
"We've tied the series but we didn't win anything," said Haviland.
Pavelec made 27 saves; Crawford made 32.
With his assist on St. Pierre's goal in the first period, Petri Kontiola extended his point streak to seven games. He has three goals and four assists over that span.
Game five is Friday in Chicago at 7:30 p.m.