03/06/2016 7:00 AM
Photo by Greg Hamil
Rockford, Ill.- The Rockford IceHogs (32-14-7-4) defeated the Lake Erie Monsters (31-19-5-5) 2-1 to sweep the weekend series in front of a sold out BMO Harris Bank Center on Sunday.
Following Saturday’s 5-0 shutout by Michael Leighton, goaltender Drew MacIntyre continued the momentum on Sunday with a stellar performance in net during his IceHogs debut. The veteran goaltender held a shutout bid for 55:22 before his first and only blemish of the game and finished with 38 saves.
The teams traded chances for most of the opening 20 minutes before Rockford finally broke through. With a minute and a half remaining in the first period, rookie forward Kyle Baun opened up the scoring with a feed from assists leader (26) Ville Pokka. Baun’s goal marked his first professional goal, and fourth point of the season (1g-3a).
After a back-and-forth battle for the first half of the second stanza, Mark McNeill doubled the score to increase his own personal point streak of five points in four games (3g-2a). Pokka found McNeill at the backdoor at 8:46 to make it 2-0. McNeill’s goal ties him for the team-lead in goals scored (17) with Tanner Kero who accounted for one goal and one assist in last night’s 5-0 victory over the Monsters. Bryan Bickell recorded the secondary assist on the goal, extending his point streak to three games (2g-2a).
After holding the Monsters scoreless, MacIntryre was finally beat by a one-timer from Oliver Bjorkstrand. With 13 seconds left of a Lake Erie power play, defensman Steve Eminger made a pass from the blueline, allowing Bjorkstrand to fire a shot outside of the left faceoff circle, finding a spot just inside the left goal post to cut the lead in half at 2-1.
The IceHogs were held off the board in three power play chances, while Lake Erie converted on one of their five opportunities with the man advantage.
Monsters goaltender Anton Forsberg was handed the loss after stopping 19 of 21 shots.
Next Home Game: Tues., Mar. 8 vs. Milwaukee Admirals. The IceHogs host the Admirals, with whom they are neck-and-neck for the Central Division lead. The contest is another “Winning Weekday” matchup. If the IceHogs win, every fan in attendance can redeem their ticket for a free ticket to the game on Tues., Mar. 15 versus the Charlotte Checkers.