IceHogs finish season series 5-3-1-1 against the Rivermen
Rockford, Ill.- The Rockford IceHogs scored three goals in the first 2:56 minutes of the second period to beat the Peoria Rivermen 4-3 at the Rockford MetroCentre on Friday.
In his first game back from an 18-game injury, Mark Cullen notched three assists to lead the IceHogs. Corey Crawford turned away 32 of 35 shots to improve to 5-1-1 this season against the Rivermen.
Pete MacArthur gave Rockford a lead in the first period when he picked up a drop pass from Cullen and back-handed it past Joe Fallon at 2:06 in the first period. Danny Richmond also figured in on the play.
"Last week, (Peoria) scored on us early, so that changed the game a bit," said winger Danny Bois. "Getting the first goal tonight changed a lot of aspects of the game."
The Rivermen responded with a goal of their own to tie the game at 12:17 in the first period. Cam Paddock picked up the puck, drove in on Crawford and slipped it right under him. Daryl Boyle and Chris Porter registered the assists.
Then Adam Cracknell gave Peoria the lead when he fired one past Crawford at 17:53 in the first period with help from Boyle and Fallon.
The IceHogs came storming back in the middle frame to regain the lead. Matt Keith tied the game at two with his 20th goal on the season. MacArthur and Cullen were credited with the assists.
"We were hungry tonight," Bois said. "We had all week to think about last week's loss. They wanted a chance to get back into the playoff race and we didn't want to let them do that tonight."
Then with the IceHogs on the power play, Shawn Lalonde fired the puck past Fallon at 2:35 in the second period to put the Hogs up 3-2. Cullen was credited with his third helper on the night, along with Kyle Greentree.
Bryan Bickell added another one with help from Adam Hobson and Evan Brophey to put Rockford up 4-2 just 21 seconds later. The goal chased Fallon from the game as he was replaced by Ben Bishop.
"We're a good enough team that it's hard to beat us three games in a row," Bois said. "We know we can lose one or two here and there, but three is just unacceptable."
In the third period, Cracknell brought the Rivermen within one when he flipped the puck past Crawford at 17:49 with helpers from Chris Porter and Boyle. Rockford held the league's third best power play off the board in six attempts.
Rockford recorded one power play goal on four chances. Fallon stopped 12 shots in 22:56 while Bishop was a perfect 10 of 10 in 35:42 of ice time.
Next Home Game: Saturday, March 27 vs. Chicago Wolves. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. The IceHogs will wear special commemorative jerseys and they will get auctioned off immediately following the game in the 11th Annual Rockford IceHogs Jersey Auction. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Rockford IceHogs Charitable Foundation and then in return benefit several not-for-profit charities in the Rock River Valley. The first 2,500 fans to the game will receive an IceHogs Jersey Auction T-shirt courtesy of WXRX and 13 WREX.