Two quick goals give Americans comeback win over Rockford
Rochester, N.Y. - With five minutes to play the Rockford IceHogs seemed poised to end their road trip with another two points. However a late rally by the Rochester Americans turned the game on its head, as the Americans (3-1-0-0) defeated the IceHogs (2-2-0-1) 3-2 on Wednesday night at Blue Cross Arena.
After falling behind 2-1 by surrendering a shorthanded goal to Rockford forward Mark McNeill, the Americans ignited with two tallies in 59 seconds to steal the win from the IceHogs.
Rochester sent out an extra attacker on a delayed penalty and Tim Schaller tied the game with his second of the night by beating Rockford's Michael Leighton from the half wall at 17:41 of the third period. Then less than a minute later, and ten seconds after a Dennis Rasmussen hooking minor put the IceHogs down a man, Zac Dalpe cashed in on a rebound in front of Leighton to complete the comeback.
While Rochester owned a 17-7 edge in third period shots, it was Rockford who was able to break the 1-1 tie in the final frame when McNeill grabbed his first of the season. Trapped in the defensive end and with Pierre-Cedric Labrie in the box for delay of game, McNeill took advantage of an errant pass and beat Amerks goalie Nathan Lieuwen at the 14:58 mark.
While the game's last five minutes were all about offense, defense and goaltending were once again the standard for Rockford in the early going. The first period ended in a scoreless tie, by virtue of another strong start by Leighton. The IceHogs netiminder had to be sharp late in the period, where the Americans found their best scoring opportunities of the period.
Rockford came out firing after the first break, testing Lieuwen early and often to start the second period. The IceHogs pressure finally paid off when Teuvo Teravainen netted his first of the year on the power play. The young forward took a feed from Joakim Nordstrom in the neutral zone and fired a quick shot through traffic which beat Lieuwen at 5:35 of the period.
The Americans found a way to shift the momentum later in the period, and eventually found their first goal on the power play to tie the game at one. Schaller snaked his way behind the Rockford defenders and slipped the puck through Leighton's legs at 17:06 of the middle period, snapping the IceHogs team shutout streak which ended at 166:41, and Leighton's personal streak of 116:52.
Along with the shutout streak, Schaller's power play goal broke the IceHogs string of success on the penalty kill to start the season. Rockford's shorthanded unit put together 16-consecutive kills before the second-period goal, and finished the night 2-for-4.
Leighton ends up suffering the loss, stopping 30 of 33 shots, while Lieuwen picks up his third win while making 21 saves.
The IceHogs finished 2-1-0-1 on their tour through the North Division, and will return home for a weekend set against Midwest Divison foes Chicago and Lake Erie at the BMO Harris Bank Center.