Tales from the Trough: Rockford ending six-game skid highlights week 18

Rockford IceHogs goaltender Henrik Karlsson watches the puck come in during his Rockford debut Saturday night, Feb. 9. Karlsson was voted the third star of the game, stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced. (Photo by Todd Reicher)

By Todd Reicher
Sports Columnist

The Rockford IceHogs stopped the bleeding Tuesday, Feb. 5, with a 5-4 shootout win over the Texas Stars.

After giving up four first-period goals on 17 shots, Henrik Karlsson calmed down and stopped every puck he faced in the second and third periods, including an impressive 10 of 11 shootout attempts to earn his first win of the season for Rockford.

The Stars came out quickly, scoring two goals in the first 3:15 of the period to jump out to a quick 2-0 lead.

The ’Hogs’ Terry Broadhurst tallied his first marker of the season 1:18 after the Stars went up by two to cut the Stars’ lead in half.

But Texas came back with two more opening-frame goals to put the ’Hogs behind the 8-ball going up 4-1 after 20 minutes.

The second period looked much better for the ’Hogs with two powerplay markers to bring Rockford to within one after 40 minutes.

Jimmy Hayes put his 14th goal of the season in the back of the net at 4:12 with a helper from Jeremy Morin.

Morin would get his second point of the night 5 minutes later with the second powerplay goal of the period, and Morin’s 15th of the campaign.

It didn’t take Rockford long to tie the game with Joe Lavin scoring his first goal this season just 61 seconds into the final period.

With a total of only 11 shots in the final period, and five in the overtime session (all by Rockford), the teams would head to a shootout.

Texas’ third shooter, Justin Dowling, scored first to put Texas up 1-0 after three rounds.

Rockford was down to their final shooter, Hayes, who needed to beat Jack Campbell to continue the shootout. Hayes made good on his attempt, sending the shootout to extra rounds. It wasn’t until Kenndall McArdle scored in the 11th round that we would have our next shootout goal.

Karlsson stopped Texas’ final shooter, Patrik Nemeth, to seal a shootout win for the ’Hogs, ending their six-game losing streak. For the third time this season, the home team gave up a 4-1 lead, with Texas doing the same to Rockford twice this season.

Two days later, Rockford traveled back to Illinois to play the Peoria Rivermen.

Rockford looked to have the early momentum. However, it was Peoria getting on the board first with a Mark Cundari powerplay goal just past the midway point of the first frame to go up 1-0.

As the period was winding down, Morin tallied his third point in two games with his 16th marker at 17:16 to even the game up at 1-1, where it would stay at the first intermission.

After Rockford jumped on a power play in the middle of the second period, Peoria turned the tide and scored shorthanded to jump back out to a one-goal lead, courtesy of Tyler Shattock.

However, on the same power play, Kyle Beach scored his 11th of the season to bring the score back to a tie at 10:16.

The third period was good to Rockford once again with Hayes scoring early in the period to give Rockford their first lead of the game at 2:36. Morin was in on the primary assist to get his second point of the night and his second-straight multi-point game.

With time winding down in the game, Beach tallied his second goal of the evening with a nice wrist shot at 15:13 to give the ’Hogs a two-goal cushion.

The Rivermen put some heat on with time running out, pulling goaltender Mike McKenna, but Karlsson and the Rockford defense stood strong and held Peoria off the board en route to their second-straight win, 4-2.

The following night, Rockford returned back home to host the Houston Aeros in what would turn out to be a defensive game.

Both goalies, Karlsson and Darcy Kuemper, made some outstanding saves, and both teams’ defenses covered for their goalies when the puck made it into the crease.

Rockford put some good pressure on Houston late in the period, but Kuemper and the Aeros stopped the Rockford onslaught and turned the momentum in their favor with some good chances late in the period. It wasn’t until there were 7 seconds remaining in the opening frame that the first goal of the game was scored off the stick of Johan Larsson to put Houston up 1-0 at the end of one period.

Both teams came out playing fast in the second, and both teams had a good number of chances, but nothing to show for it as the second period ended with the same score as the first, 1-0.

David McIntyre scored later in the third period for Houston off a Shawn Lalonde turnover to put Houston up 2-0 with under 5 minutes remaining in the game.

Rockford would put 12 more shots on Kuemper in the third period, but the rookie netminder stopped all 12 shots, including all 26 shots in the first two periods for an impressive 38-save shutout for his fourth of the season, ending Rockford’s win streak at two games.

Looking forward

The IceHogs play three games in week 19 with the first game at the Carver Arena in Peoria Wednesday, Feb. 13. Rockford returns home to the BMO on Saturday, Feb. 16, to host the Abbotsford Heat, followed by a 5 p.m. game Sunday, Feb. 17, against the Lake Erie Monsters.

From the Feb. 13-19, 2013, issue

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