Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Pokka, Johnson spark IceHogs comeback

BMO HARRIS BANK CENTER — Ville Pokka tied the game with just 14 seconds left in regulation, and Luke Johnson buried the game-winner at 1:59 of overtime to cap the Rockford IceHogs’ 3-2 comeback win over the Ontario Reign on Pink in the Rink night here Friday.

Rockford treated a crowd of 5,168 to another late rally for the club’s second third-period comeback win in as many games.

Pokka knotted the score at two goals apiece with goaltender Collin Delia pulled for an extra attacker, hammering a shot that squeaked through traffic in front of the net to help the Hogs complete their two-goal comeback. Johnson then won the game in overtime with a quick wrist shot from the wing that sailed past the shoulder of Ontario netminder Jack Campbell.

Ontario took the early lead just 6:04 into the contest, as Sean Walker posted his fifth of the year. Then, late in the second period, captain Brett Sutter doubled the Reign lead with a shorthanded marker.

Less than two minutes later, John Hayden got Rockford on the board as he potted a loose rebound on the power play. Hayden has now scored in three of his last four games, and has points in five straight contests.

Delia turned aside 31 shots for his fifth win in his last six starts; Campbell made 39 saves for Ontario. The win also gives Rockford points in nine of its last 10 games, pushing IceHogs back into second place in the Central Division.

Next Home Game: The IceHogs take on the Central Division-leading Manitoba Moose on Friday, Feb. 2 for Jake Smolinski bobblehead night. Puck drop is at 7 p.m., and the first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a free bobblehead of Oakland Athletics outfielder and Rockford native, Jake Smolinski. Tickets can be purchased at, by calling 815-968-5222 or in person at the BMO Harris Bank Center Box Office. R.

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