IceHogs bolster playoff chances with win in Manitoba
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Collin Delia stopped 32 shots, Adam Clendening added three assists and the Rockford IceHogs scored in each period to snatch a 4-2 victory over the Manitoba Moose at Bell MTS Place Monday night.
With the win, Rockford has now picked up points in nine of its last 10 outings and sits three points clear of fifth-place Iowa with eight games remaining.
The IceHogs started fast in the potential playoff preview with the first-place Moose, and never trailed after notching the game’s opening goal. Cody Franson blasted home a one-timer off of a seam pass by Chris DiDomenico midway through the first period to put Rockford up early. Franson now has 12 points in his last 12 games, while DiDomenico extended his point streak to six games with his helper, notching 3g-5a-8pts in that span.
Two minutes later, Henrik Samuelsson struck for the third straight game as he tapped home a Clendening bomb from the blue line that had squeaked through Manitoba’s Jamie Phillips. Clendening’s two assists on Rockford’s opening pair of tallies marked his fifth multi-point effort in 30 games since rejoining the Hogs in mid-January.
Mason Appleton got the Moose on the board at 10:21 of the middle stanza with his 20th goal and 60th point of the season, but Tyler Sikura replenished Rockford’s two-goal lead six minutes later, netting the eventual game-winner as he, too, pounced on a Clendening rebound and deposited the puck in the yawning cage.
The teams then traded chances through the start of the final frame before William Pelletier broke through with an insurance tally at 11:08, deflecting Luc Snuggerud’s shot from the high slot past Phillips for the IceHogs’ fourth goal. Jan Kostalek again cut into the deficit for Manitoba, but Delia and the Hogs held on for the crucial victory.
Next Home Game: The IceHogs host the San Jose Barracuda on Hawaiian Night Saturday at 6 p.m. at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The event will feature tropical-themed jerseys, live Hawaiian music, a luau with hula dancers, pig roast and orange hibiscus flowers imprinted on the ice. In addition, Hogs alumni Bryan Bickell will be on-hand for the festivities. Tickets can be purchased at IceHogs.com, by calling 815-968-5222 or in-person at the BMO Harris Bank Center Box Office. R.