The Chicago Wolves hammered out 4 power-play goals in quick succession during the second period Sunday, then clung to the lead and staved off elimination with a 4-3 victory over the IceHogs at the Rockford Metro Centre.
The AHL West Division finals are tied at three games apiece, with the deciding Game 7 on Tuesday at the Allstate Arena.
2008 American Hockey League MVP Jason Krog paced the Wolves' offense with 2 goals and an assist, while defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski (goal, 2 assists) and right wing Darren Haydar (2 assists) also posted multiple points.
The victory was just the Wolves' second at the MetroCentre in eight tries this season (2-5-0-1).
"We were in a bit of a dry spell there, so that first goal gave us some much needed life," Krog said. "It's a battle. It's now best of one, but we have to take it one shift at a time."
The Wolves tied a franchise record when they exploded for 4 power-play goals in a span of eight minutes in the second period to take the lead for the first time since Game 2.
Krog sparked the offensive barrage, scoring at 10:48 of the second period. As left wing Brett Sterling carried the puck around the right side of the net, IceHogs goalie Corey Crawford was pulled out of position and lost his footing, leaving the goal open for Krog to bang in the loose puck.
"Things were going for us in the second period, and they had better or we were going home. We didn't have much of an alternative," Wolves coach John Anderson said.
"Tuesday is going to be close and we're going to have to find a way to win, but I'm confident in our group."
Rockford used a power-play opportunity to take a 1-0 lead just 4:27 into the game when Petri Kontiola sent a shot through traffic in front of the net that found its way past Ondrej Pavelec (31 saves).
Chicago moved ahead 2-1 at 14:40 of the second on a Kwiatkowski shot that beat Crawford (22 saves).
Defenseman Nathan Oystrick upped the lead when he connected on the third straight power-play goal at 16:32 of the second. Oystrick took a pass from right wing Jesse Schultz in the faceoff circle and ripped it by Crawford for his first goal of the playoffs.
A high-sticking penalty to Martin St. Pierre put the Wolves back on the man advantage. Haydar's long shot put Crawford off balance, leaving the net unprotected for Krog to put away the rebound, his second goal of the game, with 1:35 remaining in the period.
The IceHogs answered with another goal by Kontiola 37 seconds later to cut the lead to 2 heading into the second intermission.
Rockford got back within striking distance just 58 seconds into the third when Kris Versteeg pounded his fifth of the playoffs to the back of the net.