By Todd Reicher
For the first time this season, the Rockford IceHogs found themselves in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Rockford looked to rebound against the lowly Iowa Wild Friday, Dec. 26.
The IceHogs’ most recent game against the Wild ended in a lopsided 5-1 loss, despite Rockford shooting an astounding 59 shots. This time, the shots were a bit closer, but Rockford once again faced another hot goaltender with John Curry stopping 38 of the 39 shots he faced. The only goal was a Teuvo Teravainen shorthanded goal in the second period.
Wild forward Tyler Graovac scored on the power play at 9:52 of the opening period to start the scoring for the game.
It wasn’t until roughly 20 minutes of game time later that Rockford would tally the tying goal — the aforementioned Teravainen marker at 9:29 of the second period. Teravainen managed to slip behind the defense and carried the puck within feet of Curry. The Finnish forward made a few stick handles, and wristed the puck toward the blocker of Curry. The netminder managed to get a piece of the rubber, but it still found its way to the back of the net.
Six minutes later, Jordan Schroeder snuck one past Michael Leighton to reclaim a one-goal lead.
Rockford played aggressively in the third period and controlled the puck for most of the period, but was unable to pot the equalizing goal, and the Wild came away with a 2-1 win.
A few nights later, the IceHogs hosted the Chicago Wolves for a 4 p.m. matinee. The Rockford offense had been struggling as of late, despite getting numerous shots on goal, but had been unable to convert those to goals. That all changed Sunday, Dec. 28.
Rockford’s Dennis “Moose” Rasmussen gave the ’Hogs the first lead of the game 13:07 into the first period. A shot by P.C. Labrie was redirected by Rasmussen and found its way past Jordan Binnington for the 1-0 lead.
Neither team dominated the first 20 minutes, but Rockford went into the first intermission up 1-0.
The second period started with a flurry and didn’t let up until 3 minutes into the sandwich stanza. Teuvo Teravainen scored 53 seconds into the period on Rockford’s first shift of the period. The line of Teravainen, Ryan Hartman and Peter Regin had the puck into the offensive zone for almost the entirety of their shift, which led to the first goal.
Exactly 54 seconds later, the other half of the Finnish connection, Ville Pokka, lit the lamp for the sixth time this season. Teravainen earned the assist on the goal and Regin was the secondary assist.
Less than 1 minute later, Chicago’s Joe Sova was called for hooking, giving Rockford’s power play a chance to extend its lead. Twenty-one seconds later, Mark McNeill cleaned up a Teravainen rebound to notch his 10th goal of the season and put Rockford up by a commanding 4-0 lead. The goal also signified the end of the game for Binnington, who was yanked in favor of Matt Climie. However, the damage was already done.
Scott Darling’s bid for a shutout was lost 5:49 into the final frame, when ex IceHogs skater, and two-time Stanley Cup winner, Colin Fraser tallied his seventh goal of the season.
Mathieu Brodeur made a game of it with his fourth goal of the season at 9:20 of the third to cut Rockford’s lead in half to 4-2.
Darling shut the door from then on and Rockford snapped its four-game losing streak. Teravainen earned first star of the game with a 3-point night, and Rockford’s special teams played almost flawlessly, going one-for-two on the power play while holding the AHL’s top-ranked power-play unit in Chicago to 0-for-3.
Rockford plays three games this week with a Tuesday home game against the Hamilton Bulldogs (results unavailable at press time). Rockford will spend New Year’s Eve playing away against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday, Dec. 31. The team will then head to Chicago on Saturday, Jan. 3, for the first game of 2015 against the Wolves.
Posted Dec. 30, 2014