ROCKFORD — Anthony Louis tied the game in the third period, but Austin Watson slammed home the game-winner and an empty-netter to help the Milwaukee Admirals down the Rockford IceHogs for the third straight time with a 4-2 final Wednesday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
Defenseman Chad Krys made his pro debut and set Louis up for the tally with a highlight-reel play. Krys picked off a pass in Milwaukee’s zone, drew the defenders in and whipped a no-look, behind-the-back drop pass to Louis. The forward collected the feed and fired the puck into the net to draw Rockford even with Milwaukee 2-2 with 14:10 remaining the contest.
Three minutes later, Watson capitalized on a logjam at the front of the IceHogs crease. He flipped the puck over Forsberg for what proved to be the decisive tally, collecting his 21st career game-winning goal in the process. The goal happened just after a Rockford defenseman fell to the ice on what Rockford fans and some on the IceHogs bench thought was a cross check from behind.
“It was definitely a cross check, but you can’t blame the refs,” coach Derek King said. “It’s a judgement call for them. It’s part of the game.”
Watson then iced the contest with an empty-netter with just over one minute remaining in regulation.
Jordan Schroeder also tallied for the IceHogs in the loss, one-timing a pass from Jacob Nilsson at 12:16 into the first period. Schroeder is now just one point shy of matching his career-high total of 44 points from the 2011-12 season.
Rockford is at home for the next two games before embarking on a four-game road trip. The ‘Hogs conclude the 2018-19 regular season April 14 at the BMO Harris Bank Center. R.