11/09/2011 6:00 AM
By: Mike Peck
Hogs pick up road win in Grand Rapids
Photo by Greg Hamil
Grand Rapids, Mich.- Entering Wednesday’s early game in Grand Rapids against the Griffins, the Rockford IceHogs had tallied just seven second-period goals in 10 games. The IceHogs, however, tallied three times in the middle frame at Van Andel Arena to pace them to a 5-3 win.
Grand Rapids peppered Alexander Salak with 19 first period shots on Wednesday and one snuck by the IceHogs backstop. Doug Janik blasted his second goal of the season from the left point over the glove of Salak at 16:19 of the opening frame, set up by Brendan Smith.
Before the period expired, Rockford tied the contest at 1-1. Andrew Shaw picked up a loose puck in the face-off circle to the right of Jordan Pearce and snuck his second tally of the season past the Griffins goalie five-hole at 19:49. Ben Smith assisted on the goal.
Brandon Segal put Rockford on top in the second period with his team-leading sixth goal of the season. Brian Connelly dumped a puck to Segal behind the goal line and the winger pulled it back in front of Pearce and knocked in his own rebound at 2:30.
In his first game of the season with Rockford, center David Gilbert set up Jimmy Hayes to extend Rockford’s lead to 3-1. Gilbert picked up a loose puck behind the Griffins net and found Hayes on the doorstep who back-handed in his second goal of the year at 16:16.
Later in frame, Rockford's rookie d-man Ben Youds hit Smith in the neutral zone with a long pass on the power play and Smith skated the puck into the Grand Rapids zone and blew his fourth tally of the season past Pearce at 18:00 of the second frame.
Grand Rapids, however, came right back to make it 4-2 just before the second intermission. Louis-Marc Aubry picked up a Brendan Smith cross-ice feed and shot in his first career AHL goal at 18:37.
In the third period the Griffins closed the gap to 4-3. Jamie Johnson picked up a Gustav Nyquist pass from the goal line and shelved his fifth goal of the season at 9:41.
That’s all Salak and the IceHogs allowed and Brett McLean iced the game with an empty net goal at 19:14.
Salak faced a season high 42 shots and made 39 saves in the win. Pearce was tabbed with the loss after turning away 29 Rockford attempts.
Next Home Game: Saturday, Nov. 12 vs. Peoria: The IceHogs host Peoria for the second time in 2011-12 for another Illinois Lottery Cup tilt. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. It’s also Heritage Night at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Before the IceHogs take on the Rivermen, there will be an Alumni game featuring former IceHogs skaters against former Blackhawks. The Alumni game will begin at 4 p.m. Special throwback jerseys will be worn by the alumni and current IceHogs and auctioned off after the game.
For every goal that the Rockford IceHogs score in 2011-12, IceHogs head coach Ted Dent will make a donation to children’s cancer research. BMO Harris Bank will also make a donation for every goal to the “BMO Harris Bank Goals For Grades” initiative.