IceHogs return from season-long road trip
By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD — The Rockford IceHogs return to the BMO Harris Bank Center Tuesday, Jan. 23, after earning points in five contests of their recent six-game road trip.
The IceHogs began the away swing in Ontario, California, Jan. 10, skating past the Reign 5-2 before clipping the Barracuda 4-2 the following night in San Jose. It was a 3-2 overtimes loss to the Bakersfield Condors from there.
Rockford then recorded a shootout loss and 4-3 win in Cleveland but bowed to the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-3, wrapping up the trip with eight of 12 points in the Central Division Standings.
The IceHogs currently sit in fourth place behind the Manitoba Moose, Iowa Wild and Chicago Wolves respectively.
“We’ve done a good job here and collected some points,” coach Jeremy Colliton said ahead of Saturday’s tilt with Grand Rapids. “I look at it as a great challenge at the end of these games on the road to really answer the bell and be a tough team to play against.”
In Saturday’s action, Tyler Sikura scored with 38 seconds remaining in regulation to get the IceHogs within one, but the Griffins held on for the single-goal victory at Van Andel Arena.
Sikura’s tally came after the IceHogs pulled netminder Matt Tomkins for an extra attacker. Recently returned defenseman Adam Clendening fired a shot from the point that Sikura managed to tap in but the Griffins’ lead proved too strong to surmount.
Scoring started early, as John Hayden notched his second goal in as many games a little more than a minute into the game. Grand Rapids responded just 14 seconds later, however, with Eric Tangradi’s 16th of the season.
The teams played scoreless hockey through most of the second period. The tide shifted abruptly to the home side though when Matt Puempel gave Grand Rapids its first lead of the game at 17:44. Tanner Kero quieted the crowed some, tying the game once more 4:21 into the third. But two Griffins goals in a three-minute span provided a lead they would not relinquish.
Tomkins finished with 25 saves while Jared Coreau stopped 34 Rockford shots in the winning effort. R.