Photo by Greg Hamil
Rockford, Ill. – To keep pace in the tight Western Conference playoff race, the Rockford IceHogs need to keep winning, and Wednesday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center the Hogs did just that by defeating the North Division leading Toronto Marlies in 4-1 fashion.
Jeremy Morin led the way for Rockford as he potted his 26th and 27th goals of the season, both coming on the special teams.
With the score 1-0 in the second period and on the Hogs third power play chance, Brandon Pirri set-up Morin on the doorstep, who one-timed the puck past Toronto goaltender Drew MacIntyre and evened the score at one apiece.
Ten minutes later it was Morin again, this time shorthanded. The winger picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated in on a breakaway, where he hesitated at the faceoff circle before sniping his 27th goal of the season over MacIntyre’s right shoulder, giving Rockford the 2-1 edge.
In the third, Steve Montador gave Rockford some insurance. Pirri found the veteran defenseman on the top of the faceoff circle, who blasted in his second goal of the season, upping the Hogs lead to 3-1.
Toronto pulled MacIntyre with two minutes left in the contest in a desperation attempt to claw back into the contest. But Rockford kept the Marlies at bay and with 21.3 seconds remaining, Brad Mills potted the empty-netter to solidify the Hogs victory, 4-1.
The Marlies opened the scoring in the first period when IceHogs goaltender Carter Hutton blocked Toronto forward Tim Connolly’s shot from the point, however Spencer Abbott was on the doorstep to clean up the rebound and flicked in his 10th goal of the season. Greg Scott also assisted on the play to give the Marlies the 1-0 advantage.
Morin’s shorthanded goal was his team-leading third on the campaign and also set an IceHogs AHL-era record 10th shorthanded goal on the campaign.
Rockford entered the contest with a league-best 22.1% power play and connected on one of their five opportunities, while the penalty kill unit dismissed Toronto’s two man-advantages.
Hutton made 19 saves in the winning effort, while MacIntyre finished with 26 saves.
Next Home Game: Friday, March 29 vs. Milwaukee Admirals at 7:05 p.m. The Midwest Division showdown between the IceHogs and Admirals is the ninth meeting between the two teams on the campaign, with each squad holding a 4-3-1-0 record in the season series.