By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD — The Rockford IceHogs maintained their hold on the fourth Central Division playoff spot by knocking off two opponents last week to cap their season-long, six-game homestand.
It appeared Rockford would be bombed off the ice Saturday before they mounted what looked like an impossible comeback to clip the Iowa Wild 5-4 in a shootout. Down 4-0, Jordan Schroeder got the IceHogs on the board late in the second period. The power-play blast beat Iowa goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen glove side to send Rockford into the second intermission with the momentum it lacked for most of the first two stanzas.
It was all Rockford in the third as the IceHogs wore the second-place Wild down. Luke Johnson scored four minutes into the period, followed by Schroeder’s second of the contest five minutes after that. With 4:01 to go in regulation, Anreas Martinsen set up Joni Tuulola with a cross-ice pass from just right of Kahkonen. The feed was took quick for the netminder, allowing Tuulola to fire in the equalizer from the left faceoff circle.
Victor Ejdsell’s lone gal in the shootout was the game-winner.
“We didn’t play like we were down 4-nothing,” coach Derek King said. “We just kept playing our game. We got one, then we got two. Then we were alive. We’ve had some slow starts but then started playing with some urgency.”
Rockford’s Kevin Lankinen stopped all three Iowa attempts in the shootout.
Lankinen got the nod between the pipes Sunday afternoon against the San Antonio Rampage. Schroeder and Johnson were key factors for the second straight game. Both scored in the 5-2 win to cap the homestand with a 4-2-0-0 mark. The IceHogs have now won eight of their last 10 games.
Brandon Davidson scored his first goal of the season while William Pelletier and Nick Moutrey chipped in empty-netters Sunday.
Lankinen logged 23 saves.
“I am really proud of the guys,” the goaltender said. “We are finding ways to win. And we’ve definitely not been doing it the easiest way. We’ve been making comebacks and it’s fun to watch. And as a goalie, it makes your job easier knowing that the guys are going to push until the end no matter if it’s two or three goals. They’re still going to come back.”
Schroeder now has 11 points in 11 games.
Raddysh to NYR
Defenseman Darren Raddysh has been dealt to the New York Rangers in exchange for forward Peter Holland.
Holland, 28, has skated in 52 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL this season, notching team-highs in goals (20), assists (29) and points (49) as an alternate captain. His 49 points share sixth in the AHL this season.
The Toronto, Ontario, native was drafted with the 15th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft by Anaheim and has tallied 85 points (36G, 49A) in 266 career National Hockey League games with Anaheim (2011-14), Toronto (2013-17), Arizona (2016-17) and the Rangers (2017-18).
Holland scored a career-high 11 goals with Toronto during the 2014-15 season and set career-highs in points (27) and assists (18) with the Maple Leafs in 2015-16. Holland has also totaled 206 points (88G, 118A) in 231 career AHL games.
Holland’s contract has an AAV of $675,000 and he is signed through the 2018-19 season. He will report to the IceHogs.
Raddysh has appeared in 54 games with the Rockford IceHogs this season, recording 26 points (8G, 18A). The defenseman has skated in 120 total games with Rockford, notching 48 points (13G, 35A).
The IceHogs will play their next four games on the road against Grand Rapids, Hershey, Wilkes-Barre Scranton and Chicago, respectively.
“It’s a good time for us to get on the road,” King said. “They’re big games. It’s playoff hockey from now until the end of the year.”
Next Home Game
The Rockford IceHogs return home to host the Grand Rapids Griffins on Country Night at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The first 1,500 fans through the doors will receive a free bandanna, thanks to Texas Roadhouse. R.