By Todd Reicher
After three straight overtime/shootout games, the Rockford IceHogs finally managed to win one before the shootout. Rockford snagged their first overtime win of the season Friday night in Milwaukee against the first place Admirals, and won two additional games on Saturday and Sunday to go a perfect 3-0.
Rockford’s first game was a Friday tilt in Milwaukee against the Admirals, where the IceHogs won for the first time this season.
The IceHogs grabbed the first lead of the game 1:45 into the contest on a Brandon Mashinter tally – his ninth of the season.
Milwaukee would score the next two goals, both in the opening period to snag the lead from Rockford and go into the first intermission up 2-1. The Ads also took the lead in shots for the period, 13-10.
After a scoreless, and penalty-free second period, Milwaukee looked to close out Rockford in the third. Ville Pokka had other ideas and scored his third goal of the season at 13:54 to know the score at 2-2. The power play goal, on Rockford’s third attempt of the game, would be the final score at the end of regulation.
With 24 seconds remaining in the extra session, Sam Carrick was the hero, scoring his 10th goal of the season to give Rockford their first win in Milwaukee, and first overtime win of the season.
The following night the San Antonio Rampage came to town after losing the previous night in Chicago against the Wolves.
For the second straight game, Rockford scored in the first three minutes to take the first lead of the game. Tyler Motte potted his fifth goal of the season at 2:51 for the early lead.
Northbrook, Illinois native, and rookie J.T. Compher scored his 12th goal of the season at 12:04 with an excellent individual effort to tie the score at 1-1. Compher carried the puck into the Rockford zone with two defenders draped on each side. The forward continued in with speed, pulled the puck to his backhand, which drew out goaltender Lars Johansson, then pulled it back to his forward and put the puck in the open net.
Rockford would score two goals in a stretch of 2:30 in the second period to reclaim the lead, 3-1.
Kyle Baun scored his eighth of the season while hanging out in front of the net to give Rockford their second lead of the game, and Luke Johnson extended that lead to 3-1 with his fifth of the season.
Compher would cut the lead in half just over two minutes later with his second of the game, putting the score at 3-2.
San Antonio would erase the lead 10:40 into the third period as leading point producer Rocco Grimaldi scored his 20th goal of the season, which would send the game to overtime.
Carrick would miss the net on his attempt, while Compher would make good on his shot. Johansson would stop the next two Rampage shooters, and Michael Latta and Mashinter would each score on former IceHogs netminder Kent Simpson to earn the second point, and their second win in a row.
The following night, Rockford would face the Admirals for the second time in three nights in a defensive battle.
Rockford dominated the first 20 minutes of play, outshooting Milwaukee 12-4 and earning the lion’s share of the scoring chances. Rockford came up empty-handed on the only power play attempt of the period.
Milwaukee had a chance early in the second when Carrick was handed a double-minor for highsticking, but Rockford’s defense fought off the four-minute penalty as the game remained tied at 0-0.
Jeff Glass kept the game tied late when he fought off a breakaway, drawing a raucous cheer from the crowd.
Carrick broke the scoreless tie with a strong net-presence at 8:34 with his 11th of the season, keeping him as one of the hottest ‘Hogs players of the weekend.
With Milwaukee goaltender Jonas Gunnarsson on the bench for the extra attacker, Jeremy Langlois, along with Motte, showed a tremendous team effort as they stripped Milwaukee of the puck in the own zone, for an empty net goal with 20 seconds left in the contest.
Unfortunately, Trevor Murphy ended Glass’ bid for a shutout with nine seconds left in the game, bringing the score to 2-1. The goal was a little too late for The Ads as Rockford killed off the last seconds of the game en route to a 2-1 win for their third straight.
The IceHogs will play the final three games of their five-game homestand this week with the first being a school day game on Wednesday against Cleveland.
Rockford will host Cleveland again on Friday before a Saturday game with the Charlotte Checkers.