Back-to-back wins spark IceHogs ahead of All-Star break
By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD – The Rockford IceHogs won back-to-back games this weekend heading into this week’s All-Star break.
On Friday, the BMO Harris Bank Center crowd exploded with energy in the last two minutes the third period. Down by two goals, the IceHogs scored twice, including Jordan Schroeder’s tying tally with three seconds remaining to send the contest the Manitoba Moose were certain they’d won into overtime.
Dylan Sikura gave Rockford life when he potted his team-leading 12th goal of the season to cut Manitoba’s lead to 3-2. The rookie forward fired a slapshot from just inside the blue line past the blocker side of goaltender Eric Comrie.
Rockford pulled goaltender Kevin Lankinen with 1:48 left in the third and immediately threatened to find the equalizer. An icing against Manitoba gave Rockford a faceoff to Comrie’s left with just 7.8 seconds ticks on the clock. Luke Johnson won the draw and got the puck to Lucas Carlsson who fed it to Schroeder for a blistering one-timer that found the back of the Moose net.
The clubs skated to an even overtime period before Rockford blanked Manitoba 2-0 in a shootout to escape with a 4-3 comeback victory.
Lankinen finished with 25 saves on 28 shots, including 3 stops in overtime, and earned the first shootout victory of his AHL career.
Anton Forsberg made 33 saves and Terry Broadhurst netted the game-winning goal Saturday to help Rockford down the Iowa Wild, 3-1 at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
Broadhurst potted the deciding tally in the early stages of the third period, breaking a 1-1 tie. The veteran forward powered his way over the blue line and fired a wrister high to the blocker side of Iowa goalie Kaapo Kahkonen. Broadhurst now has points in three straight games after snapping 17-game scoreless drought on Jan. 21 against Iowa.
Forsberg and the IceHogs defensive unit held strong for the remainder of the third, then Luke Johnson iced the game with an empty-netter with 19 seconds remaining. Forsberg contributed an assist on the tally, giving the netminder his first point of the year.
Jacob Nilsson got the IceHogs on the board 6:53 into the second period with a slap shot on the power play. Louie Belpedio responded for Iowa with just 21 seconds remaining in the stanza, tying the game at one apiece entering the third.
Forsberg backstopped Rockford’s strong defensive effort, posting a season-high .971 save percentage with 33 saves on 34 shots. R.
Rockford now hits the All-Star Break through Thursday. Andrew Campbell will represent the IceHogs in Springfield as the captain of the Central Division. The defenseman will participate in the Skills Challenge Sunday night at 6 p.m. CST and the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield Monday night at 6 p.m. The two showcases can be viewed on NHL Network.