By Todd Reicher
The Rockford IceHogs will soon embark on a seven-game road trip, and if the team plays the same way as they played in Milwaukee Monday night, Dec. 26, it will be a long trip away from home.
The game started out as a defensive standoff with Milwaukee tallying the only goal in the first 20 minutes, courtesy of Teemu Laakso while on the power play.
Rockford scored the equalizing goal and the go-ahead goal within 1 minute of one another in the second period to gain their first, and only, lead of the game. Jimmy Hayes and Ben Smith both tallied markers for Rockford, with Rostislav Olesz assisting on the Hayes marker and David Gilbert and Brian Connelly helping on the Smith goal.
Milwaukee would fire off three of their own goals after Rockford had taken the lead to end the second frame 4-2. The Ads’ first goal came while on a five-on-three power play, while their second goal of the period came only 7 seconds into a power play.
Three more unanswered Milwaukee goals would put the Admirals up 7-2 late in the game, until Byron Froese scored for Rockford with 1:16 remaining in the game. Rockford’s goal was scored 7 seconds after a Rockford power play expired, and signaled the end of the scoring, with Milwaukee rolling over Rockford with a 7-3 lead.
Carter Hutton, who has played well in net for the ’Hogs at home but has struggled on the road, was handed the loss after giving up 6 goals on 27 shots in 47 minutes of ice time. Alec Richards came on in relief of Hutton, and gave up one goal on five shots.
Jeremy Smith earned the win for Milwaukee, stopping 24 of 27 ’Hogs shots.
Key points for this week:
1. Too many penalties — One thing Rockford has had problems with this season is giving up too many penalties. Milwaukee took full advantage of the seven power-play chances, going an impressive 5-for-7 with the extra skater, including a five-on-three goal.
2. Get some road wins — Rockford will play eight of their next nine games on the road, and the team will need to figure out what happened on Monday to make their upcoming road trip successful.
Rockford has a busy three-game week coming up with their first game Thursday, Dec. 29, at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont. The team turns around on Interstate 90 to come back to the BMO Harris Bank Center to host the Charlotte Checkers Friday, Dec. 30. The next day, Rockford visits the Carver Arena once again to take on the Peoria Rivermen to kick off their seven-game road trip.