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And Now, A Flair For The Dramatic

03/31/2012 2:20 PM - Mike Peck
If you missed Friday’s game against Peoria at the BMO Harris Bank Center, you missed one of the most entertaining games of the season and a game that epitomizes the playoff push.

The game was up and down (which doesn’t favor Rockford), there were highlight film saves and goals, and a late IceHogs comeback in both regulation and the shootout.

A couple things happened in the final minute of regulation that typically doesn’t go Rockford’s way: Scoring a goal with the extra attacker on the ice and scoring a clutch power-play goal.

When the puck rolled over Brian Fahey’s stick and into the neutral zone with about 20-seconds left in regulation, I thought the game was over. But Fahey picked up a Peter LeBlanc rebound and notched the equalizer with 4.1 seconds left on the clock.

The shootout was about as strange and exciting as the first 65 minutes of hockey. Peoria notched goals with their first two shooters by beating Carter Hutton low glove side. And it didn’t even look close.

Rockford’s first two shooters (Philippe Paradis and Rostislav Olesz) both tried Jake Allen’s glove and he blocked them both. So naturally, the IceHogs changed their approach and the next three shooters went five hole on Allen and all three scored.

On the flipside, T.J. Hensick was Peoria’s third shooter, and instead of going back to Hutton’s low blocker side, he decided to go high glove and was denied.  After Phil McRae missed for Peoria, Anthony Nigro went with a deek attempt that Hutton got his right leg down on to win it for Rockford.

Not sure why the final three Rivermen shooters went away from the low blocker on Hutton, but Rockford’s adjustment in the shootout paid off and the IceHogs escaped with the extra point. The game felt like we got some redemption from the 7-6 overtime loss in Peoria back on Nov. 11 when McRae tallied twice in the final 90 seconds and then the Riverpeople notched the OT winner to steal the extra point.

With Kent Simpson signed, Rockford now has five players under Amateur Try Outs. Simpson joins Terry Broadhurst, Phillip Danault, Connor Goggin and Mark McNeill. If Rockford can keep in the playoff race, I wouldn’t expect much ice time (or any if you couldn’t read the sarcasm) for Simpson.

Back on March 9, I thought Rockford had to go 7-2-0-0 (or get 14 points) over their next nine games to remain in the playoff picture. Well, I’m a game late, but the team did go 7-3-0-0 over the past 10 tilts and are still in it. With seven games left, however, five or six wins are absolutely needed. The team is 12-3-0-1 over their last 16 contests going back to Feb. 24.

Ted Dent mentioned last night in our pregame show interview that the amateurs (at least the forwards) will be rotated in and out of the lineup. Last night Broadhurst and Danault were scratches and tonight they are in. McNeill is out as is Wade Brookbank, Simon Danis-Pepin and Byron Froese. Ben Smith and Paul Zanette are done for the year.

Looking forward to another intense playoff-like game tonight!