By Todd Reicher
Going in to the AHL All-Star break, Rockford has hit their stride with their longest winning streak of the season. Last week, Rockford won a close 2-1 meeting against Utica to start off the streak, and has won three straight home games, including an 8-3 drubbing of Iowa Saturday, Feb. 8.
During their four-game win streak, Rockford has tallied 20 goals while allowing 12.
Rockford’s weekend started out Saturday, Feb. 8, against the Iowa Wild. In four games, the ’Hogs only showed one win against their newest division rival this season, which included one shootout loss.
The ’Hogs jumped out to a quick 2-0 with two goals in 14 seconds just 2:53 into the game. Philip Danault tallied his third marker of the season, and Jeremy Morin followed up with his 12th.
Rockford dominated the first half of the period, outshooting the Wild by a staggering 16-1 in the first 10 minutes. However, the Wild fought back, and the period ended with Rockford holding a 19-13 advantage, but more importantly, a 2-0 lead.
Drew LeBlanc increased the lead to 3-0 at 7:11 of the second with his seventh goal of the campaign.
One former IceHogs skater, and the brother of a former IceHogs player, would sting Rockford twice in 44 seconds to close the gap to 3-2.
Former defenseman Brian Connelly tallied his fourth of the year at 7:11 of the second with a shot from the point. Then, 44 seconds later, Marc Hagel, the brother of former IceHogs skater Kyle Hagel, scored his fifth of the season.
Danault showed great patience in scoring his second of the game at 11:48 to bring Rockford up 4-2. Danault received the puck from Morin on the left side of the net, then slid from the left side of the net to the right, waiting for Iowa goaltender Johan Gustafsson to go down. Once he did, Danault lifted the puck top shelf for the score.
Hagel scored for the second time in the period on the power play to pull Iowa to within a goal for the second time in the period.
But two more quick Rockford goals at the end of the period put Rockford up 6-3 at the end of the second.
Terry Broadhurst scored his 10th of the season at 18:03, and Brad Winchester scored his 14th with 42 seconds left.
Morin lit up backup goaltender John Curry for two goals to earn his first AHL hat trick. Morin scored with his second goal of the game at 4:28 of the final period, and his hatty was scored on the power play at 9:08. The 8-3 win was Rockford’s largest margin of victory on the season, as well as largest goal total.
Rockford also welcomed former first-round eighth overall draft pick Pierre-Marc Bouchard to the lineup. In his first game with the ’Hogs, Bouchard added three assists.
The following night, Rockford hosted the Utica Comets for the first time.
Brandon Pirri tallied the only goal of the first period at 14:27 to give Rockford the 1-0 lead after 20. The ’Hogs drew four penalties in the first period, including more than a minute of five-on-three, but were unable to capitalize on any of the chances.
Alex Broadhurst had a breakout game, and scored 2:56 into the second period to put Rockford up 2-0. His brother, Terry Broadhurst, was the primary assist on the goal.
Less than a minute later, Darren Archibald netted his 10th goal of the season to pull the Comets to within one.
Morin scored his fourth goal of the weekend with a power-play tally to put Rockford up by two once again.
Two minutes later, it looked like Rockford would increase their lead, but the goal was waved off, as it was redirected in with a high-stick.
The second period has been tough for Rockford defensively in the last few games, and the trend continued Sunday, Feb. 9. Nicklas Jensen scored a natural hat trick in a span of fewer than 6 minutes to lead the Comets to a 4-3 lead after 40 minutes.
With time winding down in the third period, Benn Ferriero was called for a face-off violation, giving Rockford a key power play with 3:09 remaining. Twenty-eight seconds into the advantage, Garret Ross scored his 12th marker of the year to knot the score at 4-4.
The Broadhurst brothers connected once again, this time in the overtime session, to give Rockford the win. Alex Broadhurst and Terry Broadhurst earned a two-on-one, with Terry Broadhurst carrying the puck on the left wing into the offensive zone. At the last second, Terry Broadhurst slid the puck cross-crease to Alex Broadhurst, who lifted the puck over the shoulder of goaltender Joacim Eriksson for the game-winner.
Keys for the week
Goals, goals, goals! Rockford’s week was highlighted by 19 goals in three Week 19 games.
Of the 11 goals given up by Rockford this weekend, eight of them were scored in the second period. On the flipside, Rockford did not allow a single first-period goal this week.
Rockford plays three games this week in three days with the last of their four-game home stand Friday, Feb. 14, against the Chicago Wolves. Rockford then heads to Iowa for two games against the Wild, with the first taking place at 7 p.m. and the Sunday game at 4:05 p.m.
From the Feb. 12-18, 2014, issue