BULLDOGS TAKE CARE OF RAMPAGE
By Chris Dubiel
After a sweep of the Wisconsin Rampage in Pleasant Prairie from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, the Bulldogs looked to grab two more wins from their West Division rival. Chicago came into the series winning 13 straight while Wisconsin stood at 11-4.
Chicago 5, Wisconsin 3
The Bulldogs were quick to get going on Saturday night as Matt Soukup scored on the powerplay off a setup from Luke Morin at 6:25 of the first period. 45 seconds later, Soukup would steal the puck at the Rampage blue line and finish on the breakaway. Soukup’s shorthanded goal gave Chicago a 2-0 lead that they would take into the intermission.
Although the Bulldogs had all the momentum in the opening period, Wisconsin would show some life about midway through the second when a mistake at the Chicago blue line gave Trevor Sabo a shorthanded breakaway. He capitalized on it to cut the lead in half. The Bulldogs would answer back later in the period when Matt Gazzola fired home a powerplay goal after being set up by Colin McAuliffe and Morin.
Less than two minutes into the third period, Wisconsin would draw closer when Cody Miller capitalized on a feed from Caleb Stolzman. About three minutes later, the Bulldogs went back up by two when Morin scored with assists form McAuliffe and Jim Bohne. Shortly after Morin’s goal, Michael Delaney rushed up the ice end-to-end and blew past a defenseman before snapping home a wrist shot to make it 5-2. Christopher Wachal would bring the lead back down to two with his goal at 10:24 of the third, but it would not be enough as the Bulldogs were able to shut down Wisconsin the rest of the period.
Chicago earned their 14th straight win by defeating Wisconsin 5-3. Matt Soukup and Luke Morin had three points each.
Chicago 8, Wisconsin 4
Sunday’s game started with the Rampage coming out of the gate strong, even though they would not be able to maintain control for 60 minutes.
Jakob Smith scored an unassisted goal at 5:54 of the first to give the Rampage their first lead of the weekend. About four minutes later, Luke Morin tied the score with a long wrister that found twine on the powerplay. Daniel Kerr took the lead right back for Wisconsin after Trevor Sabo set him up at 11:52. The Rampage gladly took the lead into the first intermission.
Wisconsin was in control of the game until about three minutes into the second period, when they started taking penalties. With Michael Alilovich and Brenner Blankenship in the box, the Bulldogs enjoyed a 5-on-3 man advantage which turned the tide of the game. Matt Gazzola and Colin McAuliffe scored powerplay goals just 32 seconds apart to suddenly give the Bulldogs the lead at 3-2. Four minutes after McAuliffe’s go-ahead goal, Matt Soukup had another shorthanded breakaway and scored to make it 4-2. Later in the period, Joe Mavrin added an unassisted goal to give the Bulldogs a three-goal cushion going into the second intermission.
In the third period, Daniel Kerr scored for Wisconsin to cut the deficit to two but it would be the closest Wisconsin would get before Michael Maines, Gazzola and Mitch Hildner all lit the lamp for the Bulldogs. Robert Smythe added a late powerplay goal for the Rampage to round out the scoring.
The Bulldogs took advantage of a slew of undisciplined penalties by the Rampage and cruised to an 8-4 victory. Colin McAuliffe registered three points and Joe Lennox made 37 saves for his seventh win of the season. The Bulldogs, riding a 15-game winning streak, head to Ft. Wayne, IN. this weekend to face the Federals.