By Todd Reicher
Rockford’s AHL-era best streak of eight-straight wins was stopped this past weekend by a pair of Milwaukee wins. After scoring at least three goals in their last five games, Milwaukee held one of the league’s top scoring teams to a total of two goals in two games.
Scott Darling was saddled with his first and second losses of the season, allowing five goals in the two games, while Magnus Hellberg was solid, allowing only two goals.
The IceHogs fell down 2-0 in Friday’s (Nov. 14) contest before Phillip Danault tallied his third marker of the season. Mark McNeill tallied the primary assist on the goal, bringing his point streak to six games. Ville Pokka was given the secondary assist.
Milwaukee’s Miikka Salomaki took advantage on the power play for the second time in the game to extend the Ads’ lead to 3-1. An empty-net goal with 36 seconds left sealed a 4-1 win for the visiting Admirals.
Taylor Aronson also helped lead the way for Milwaukee, tallying a goal and three assists.
The following night (Saturday, Nov. 15), both teams traveled up to Milwaukee for the second game of a home-and-home series, which saw Milwaukee edge out Rockford 2-1.
This time, it was Rockford getting out to the quick start with a Teuvo Teravainen goal 6:45 into the opening period. The IceHogs controlled the pace early, out-shooting the Ads 7-0 for a good portion of the first period.
Milwaukee would tally the only second-period goal with a Garrett Noonan marker at 16:13 of the frame to send the game to the third period tied 1-1.
The Ads defensemen came through again with Joe Piskula scoring his first of the season with 7:32 remaining in the game to put Milwaukee up 2-1.
Despite the extra attacker late in the game, Rockford was unable to tally the equalizing goal, and the Admirals won for the second straight night.
Sunday (Nov. 16) marked Rockford’s third game in three days with an afternoon tilt against the Texas Stars.
The Stars came into the game with an 0-1-2-0 record in the last three games and 3-3-4-0 in their last 10, while Rockford was riding a two-game losing streak after an eight-game winning streak. However, the Stars boasted the AHL scoring leader Travis Morin, along with a high-powered offense, so it would certainly be an interesting game.
In addition, in a twist of events, Joakim Nordstrom was called up to the Chicago Blackhawks, and goaltender Antti Raanta was sent down from Chicago to Rockford.
Prior to the start of the game, McNeill was a scratch, so Rockford’s most productive line of Garrett Ross, McNeill and Danault would not be intact. Instead, coach Ted Dent had Cody Bass filling the spot for McNeill, a role he played perfectly.
The first period was a back-and-forth affair with fast-paced action. Rockford held a huge shots-on-goal advantage with 21 thrown at Jack Campbell for Rockford, and Raanta stopping all 10 in the first period.
Brandon Mashinter got the scoring under way with his third marker of the season. A nice dish by Teravainen set up the go-ahead goal.
Texas would answer just more than 5 minutes later with a Matej Stransky goal to even things up at 1-1. Ross would tally his fourth goal of the season with exactly 6 minutes left in the period to give the ’Hogs another one-goal lead. Teravainen earned his second point of the evening with the primary assist, and defenseman TJ Brennan was the secondary.
After a flurry of shots in the middle of the final frame, Brennan found the back of the net at exactly 10 minutes into the period to give Rockford a strong 3-1 lead. Mashinter and Peter Regin both earned their second points of the evening with assists on the goal.
With Campbell pulled late in the period, Texas crawled to within one goal at 17:58 of the period.
Rockford fought off a late surge from the Stars, however, and rebounded after two straight losses to Milwaukee with a 3-2 win.
Rockford has yet another tough stretch of three games in three days this weekend with a Friday home tilt against the Iowa Wild Nov. 21, and a Saturday, Nov. 22, match-up hosting the Milwaukee Admirals. Rockford finishes off its three-game stint with a Sunday, Nov. 23, game at the Allstate Arena against the Chicago Wolves.
From the Nov. 19-25, 2014, issue