By Jim Hagerty
The Rockford IceHogs (8-2-0-1) overcame a slow start en route to a huge third period Tuesday, scoring four unanswered goals in a 5-4 overtime win against the Lake Erie Monsters (4-5-0-1) at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
Despite being out shot, Lake Erie took advantage of a faltering IceHog penalty kill and jumped to a quick lead on four straight power play goals, forcing a Rockford goaltender change. With his team down by three, Scott Darling relieved a struggling Michael Leighton at the 13:20 mark of the second as the ‘Hogs finished the first two periods behind 4-1. Rockford’s lone goal at the point came off the stick of T.J. Brennan at 5:19 of the middle frame.
The IceHogs came out strong in the third as Ryan McNeill fired one past Monster goaltender Calvin Pickard at 1:57. McNeill buried his second at 14:35, cutting the Lake Erie lead to one.
Peter Regin notched the tying goal with 1:40 remaining in regulation, sending Rockford into the overtime period with a 44-24 shots-on-goal bulge.
Rockford continued to put pressure on Pickard in the extra session, firing seven shots at him before T.J. Brennan and Regin made a two-on-two break into the Monster zone and Regin snapped the tie at 5:10.
Darling stopped all 12 shots he faced. Leighton stopped 10 of 14. Darling was given the win, improving his record to 4-0-0-0. The win is the IceHogs’ sixth in a row.
Next Home Game: Saturday, Nov. 8 vs. Grand Rapids Griffins. Game starts at 7 p.m. Rockford will make their salute to the Armed Forces when they host the Griffins for Military Night at the BMO Harris Bank Center. In addition to recognizing past and current service men and women throughout the night, the first 2,500 fans will receive an IceHogs camouflage hat courtesy of Pepsi.
For an in-depth recap of this week’s games, photos and highlights, see Todd Reicher’s “Tales from the Trough,” every Wednesday in the digital and print edition of The Rock River Times.