By Jim Hagerty
Although their season will not continue in the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs, the Rockford IceHogs skated like they had something to prove Saturday, leading a fierce power play attack to down the Charlotte Checkers 7-3 at the BMO Harris Bank Center in the final game of the 2013-14 season.
Rockford started the scoring at 3:34 into the first period, on rookie Ryan Hartman’s second pro goal. Charlotte answered as a weak shot by Victor Rask trickled past Kent Simpson to even the score. Brian Connelly added a trickler of his own on an ensuing power play, sending one past Charlotte’s John Muse from the blue line at 14:57.
With the game tied at two goals apiece, Rockford took advantage of a Charlotte double minor penalty when Teuvo Teravainen tipped in a rebound to make it 3-2 before Hartman scored the ‘Hogs’ third power play goal, his second the game.
The IceHogs maintained control in the third. In less than a minute after the opening faceoff, Terry Broadhurst dribbled one in off Muse’s left pad. Brandon Mashinter and Pat Mullane scored Rockford’s fourth and fifth power play goal to make it 7-2 late in the third.
Charlotte’s Brody Sutter cut the lead to four 14:57 into the third period, however, that would be all the scoring in the season finale for both teams.
Connelly also had two assists for Rockford while Stephen Johns assisted on three IceHogs goals.
Final attendance Saturday was 5,300. The IceHogs’ season attendance of 182,540 set an AHL franchise record.
The IceHogs were eliminated from the playoffs Friday, April 18, after losing to the Chicago Wolves and the Oklahoma City Barons squeaked by the Iowa Wild to grab the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot. Rockford finished the 2013-14 campaign 35-32-5-4 with 79 points.
The next home game is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
For an in-depth recap of this week’s games and highlights of the 2013-14 season, see Todd Reicher’s column, “Tales from the Trough,” Wednesday, April 23, in the digital and print edition of The Rock River Times.