By Todd Reicher
Points are at a premium for the rest of the season, and the IceHogs managed to grab two of them in a pair of road overtime losses this past weekend.
Rockford’s first overtime loss was in a game they should have won on Friday, February 3 against the Milwaukee Admirals.
The IceHogs dominated a majority of play in the first 20 minutes, outshooting the Ads 15-5, but allowed two goals on those five shots to trail 2-1 after 20 minutes.
Frederick Gaudreau scored his seventh of the season just 59 seconds into play to give Milwaukee the quick 1-0 lead. From then on, Rockford held the Ads to four shots in 19 minutes, but Gaudreau would tally a second goal on one of those shots at 11:04.
Gaudreau’s two lamplighters were sandwiched by Nolan Valleau’s second goal of the season at 10:41. The tie only lasted 23 seconds as Gaudreau’s second goal came at 11:04.
What has been Rockford’s bane this season, a dismal second period, turned out to play in Rockford’s favor. Spencer Abbott, the team’s leading goal scorer, potted his 10th of the season at 10:26 while on the power play to knot the score at 2-2 through 40 minutes of play. The 5-on-3 marker was a rare one as the IceHogs have struggled mightily with a two-man advantage.
Over 40 minutes of gameplay had passed since his second goal when Gaudreau completed the hat trick at 12:14 of the third period to give the Ads their third lead of the game. Justin Florek also earned his third point of the game with the primary assist on the go-ahead goal.
With Mac Carruth on the bench for the extra attacker, Abbott once again came through in the clutch by scoring his second of the game with 57 seconds left to play in the game.
Abbott’s second would send the game to overtime, which unfortunately did not last long with Alexandre Carrier scoring just 31 seconds into the extra session to give Milwaukee the second point and a 4-3 win.
Rockford headed down to Rosemont the following night to face the Wolves.
P.C. Labrie returned to the lineup after missing a few games, and his presence was felt quickly as the veteran winger tussled with Emerson Clark 2:49 into the game. Clark, however, would get the last laugh as he scored his first goal of the season at 14:11 of the first frame to put the Wolves up 1-0.
Sam Carrick would score his eighth of the season at 3:04 of the second to tie the game up 1-1. The power play marker was assisted by newcomer Michael Latta, who has been a good contributor point-wise for Rockford since he was acquired in trade a few weeks ago.
Rockford would take their first lead of the weekend 1:22 later with Jeremy Langlois’ fourth of the season.
The lead was short-lived as Samuel Blais scored his 15th of the season just under three minutes later to even things up at 2-2.
Shots were pretty close through the first two periods with Rockford holding a slight advantage at 18-17.
Rockford put up two more shots than Chicago in the third, 8-6, but neither team was able to find the twine, and we headed to overtime once again.
Chicago’s Wade Megan took a costly interference penalty 21 seconds into the overtime period, meaning Rockford would have two minutes of 4-on-3. Chicago took advantage of a Rockford miscue and Andrew Agozzino scored an unassisted, shorthanded marker at 1:58 to send Rockford home winless on the weekend.
Rockford had another contest against the Wolves on Tuesday, February 7, results not available by press time. The IceHogs will head back to Milwaukee on Friday, and then turn around the following night to host San Antonio in the first of five straight home games.