By Todd Reicher
The Rockford IceHogs continue to keep pace by racking up wins in week 8. Rockford’s first win of the week was last Wednesday against the San Antonio Rampage.
Troy Bourke tallied the game’s first goal with only 52 seconds remaining in the first period to give San Antonio the lead after 20 minutes of play.
After failing to capitalize on their first power play opportunity in the first period, the IceHogs tallied on the power play midway through the second period to knot the score at 1-1. Jeremy Morin potted his fourth of the season, assisted by Vince Hinostroza and Ville Pokka.
With the period winding down, Dennis Rasmussen lit the lamp for the fifth time this season to give Rockford their first lead of the game. The go-ahead goal, with 29 seconds left in the second period, was assisted by Cameron Schilling and Morin. Rockford controlled play in the second period, outshooting the Rampage 17-5 while also outscoring San Antonio 2-0.
San Antonio managed to square things up with 4:40 left in the game with a Michael Schumacher goal.
It was a perfect time for his first goal of the season, 1:08 remaining in overtime, for Erik Gustaffson to end the game. With 3-on-3 play in overtime, Ryan Hartman found Viktor Svedberg who fed the puck to Gustaffson for the goal.
Michael Leighton got the win, saving 26 of the 28 shots he faced, and Calvin Pickard was handed the loss, stopping 34 of 37 Rockford shots.
Two days later, Rockford hosted the Chicago Wolves for a Friday evening game. Rockford beat Chicago in a shootout in the first meeting this season back on October 23.
Morin got the scoring started 13:49 into the game with his second goal in as many games and his fifth of the season. Rasmussen notched the primary assist and Dennis Robertson earned his third point of the season with the secondary assist. Once again, Rockford controlled the pace of the period and outshot the Wolves 10-4.
Tough guy Cody Beach knotted the score at 1-1 4:45 into the second period.
The lead didn’t last for more than four minutes as Bryan Bickell scored his fifth for the IceHogs off a rocket of a wrist shot assisted by Jake Dowell. Bickell used the defenseman as a screen and sniped the puck into the top right corner of the net past Jordan Binnington.
Towards the end of the second period, Rockford was rewarded a four minute power-play when Ivan Barbashev was called for a double-minor high stick penalty. Pokka capitalized 45 seconds into the minor to give Rockford a two-goal lead.
The 3-1 score would stand throughout the game as Rockford, but not without any third period drama. Petteri Lindbohm, who was instigating throughout the game, was called for a 10-minute misconduct for abuse of officials. Once he was allowed back on the ice, he was targeting Dowell, who attempted to engage Lindbohm in a fight. The defenseman refused to acknowledge the threat. Beach, Jacob Doty and Jordan Caron were also given 10 minute misconduct penalties before the middle point of the third period, and at one time, the Chicago penalty box was loaded with five players. In total, the Wolves had 72 penalty minutes to Rockford’s 30.
The following night the IceHogs headed up to Milwaukee for their final game of the week, and the first of a five-game road trip.
Despite Rockford outshooting the Admirals 15-4, the game was tied 1-1.
Milwaukee’s Vladislav Kamenev scored on a breakaway 7:29 into the game. The rookie winger scored his fifth of the season by going to the backhand and lifting the puck over the stretched out glove of Mark Visentin.
Rasmussen continued his strong offensive play with his sixth goal of the season after Rockford won a faceoff in the offensive zone. Svedberg and Gustaffson were credited with assists on the game-tying goal.
There was no scoring in the second period, and the Ads dominated Rockford 9-2 despite Rockford earning three power play opportunities to Milwaukee’s one.
Rockford earned another power play chance very early in the third period, but was unable to capitalize on their chance.
The all-important next goal of the game came in the third period, unfortunately, it was by Milwaukee. Pontus Aberg, who assisted on the Ads first goal, tallied his fifth of the season 7:56 into the period to give Milwaukee the 2-1 advantage.
Rockford put pressure on late, but Milwaukee withstood the charge and came away with a 2-1 win.
The IceHogs power play struggled and was unable to convert on any of their six chances. The team was very disciplined and only gave up one power play chance to Milwaukee, which they were unable to convert upon.
Rockford will continue their road trip with four games in the state of Texas. Rockford will first face the Texas Stars on Wednesday, then head down to San Antonio for two straight games on Friday and Sunday. The ‘Hogs will then head back up north to Cedar Park, Texas to face the Stars once again on Tuesday. The next home game for the ‘Hogs will be Friday, December 11 against the Iowa Wild.