Rockford rebounds to 3-2 win over defending champs
Rockford, Ill. - Despite entering Sunday tired, banged up and on the wrong side of their two previous games, the Rockford IceHogs (11-4-0-1) rebounded with a complete team performance, dispatching the defending Calder Cup Champion Texas Stars (6-4-4-0) in front of a sell-out crowd of 6,390 at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
While the game ended in the slimmest of margins on the scoreboard, Rockford's spirited play gave the home team a stranglehold in the time-on-attack and scoring chance categories. Only three IceHogs skaters failed to register a shot on goal, as Rockford poured a three-period season-high 45 shots on Texas goaltender Jack Campbell.
Campbell kept the game from becoming lopsided with an impressive 42-save performance, but was unable to keep the combination of Teuvo Teravainen and Brandon Mashinter from providing the offensive firepower the IceHogs needed to pick up the win.
Mashinter tallied the first goal of the game in the second and added the primary assist on T.J. Brennan's eventual game-winner at the halfway point of the third period. During a strong shift in the Texas zone, Mashinter waited out Campbell in the slot before dishing a feed to Brennan, who fired it upstairs to give himself a two-point night (1g-1a) and Rockford a 3-1 lead.
Also tallying a pair of points was Teravainen, who accounted for the primary assist for the IceHogs' first two goals. The young forward now has eight helpers on the year, tying him for the team lead.
Texas added a late marker to make it 3-2 with 2:02 left in the third, but newly assigned goaltender Antti Raanta held tough to pick up the win. Raanta played a composed game, turning aside 33 of 35 shots in his first appearance with the IceHogs in 2014-15.
Rockford came out guns-blazing in an opening period where they controlled the pace of play from the outset, but could not find the cage thanks to 21 stops by Campbell.
The IceHogs carried their offensive pressure into the second period, when Mashinter was finally able to break through with the man advantage at 5:11. The power play goal capped a solid night for the Rockford special teams, going 1-for-3 on the power play while killing off all three Texas opportunities.
Rockford's lead was short lived, as five minutes later a defensive zone turnover came back to bite them. The Stars pinned the IceHogs deep in their end, forcing goalie Raanta to make a couple stops before a botched clearing attempt gave Texas a 3-on-1 in the slot. Gemel Smith fed Matej Stranski a cross-ice pass for a tap-in goal at 10:40 to tie the game at one.
Instead of retreating after the goal against, Rockford kept attacking, which culminated in the go-ahead goal by Garret Ross at 14:00 of the second period. Wide open in the slot, Ross tallied his fourth of the year when he buried a feed from Teravainen on the half wall to send the IceHogs into the third up 2-1.
Next Home Game: Friday, Nov. 21 vs. Iowa Wild. Game begins at 7 p.m. The IceHogs second meeting with the Wild kicks off with another Blues Flame Lounge Pre-Game Party at the BMO. All ticketed fans 21-and-up can arrive early to enjoy free appetizers, live music and drink specials before enjoying the game. Doors open at 5:15 p.m.