ROCKFORD — Justin Kirkland’s hat trick in the third period buoyed the Milwaukee Admirals to a 5-3 victory over the Rockford IceHogs at the BMO Harris Bank Center Friday night.
Kirkland, who had one goal on the season going into Friday’s contest, broke a 2-2 deadlock 2:42 into the final period.
Kirkland collected a pass from Yakov Trenin and outwaited a sliding Collin Delia to deposit the go-ahead goal early in the final frame.
Ten minutes later, Kirkland posted what would become the game-winner by batting in a loose rebound at the side of Rockford’s net.
John Hayden then pulled Rockford to within a goal with his fourth tally of the season, but Kirkland’s empty-net marker with 1:29 to go finished his hat trick and sealed the Admirals’ win.
Prior to Kirkland’s back-to-back goals, the teams traded goals through the first two stanzas. Jimmy Oligny drew first blood for the Ads at 11:34 of the first frame, but Rockford responded three minutes later on the power play as Anthony Louis threaded the needle with a cross-ice feed to Cody Franson, who rifled a snap shot past the blocker of Anders Lindback.
Milwaukee escaped the first period with a lead thanks to a late additional strike by Frederick Gaudreau, but the IceHogs again knotted the game late in the second with Darren Raddysh’s fifth goal of the year.
Delia finished with 19 saves while Lindback recorded 33 for the win. Rockford’s loss snaps a six-game home point streak.
Next Home Game: The IceHogs take on the Cleveland Monsters at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, at the BMO Harris Bank Center. If the Hogs win, tickets from Tuesday’s game can be redeemed for a ticket of equal or lesser value to the following Fas Fuel Winning Weekdays game on Wednesday, Feb. 28. R.