Bryan Bickell had a goal and two assists on Wednesday as the Rockford IceHogs beat the Grand Rapids Griffins 5-3 at the Rockford MetroCentre. (Photo by Kris Grey)
Rockford picks up sixth win in seven games against Grand Rapids
Rockford, Ill.- The Rockford IceHogs got off to a good start and held on to defeat the Grand Rapids Griffins 5-3 on Wednesday at the Rockford MetroCentre.
"Sometimes you just play well against certain teams," said winger Rob Klinkhammer. "We definitely didn't have our A game and they kind of took it to us but I think we had a little momentum from the series and that helped us get the win."
After having the last word on Saturday against the Griffins, the Hogs picked up right where they left off and tallied two markers in the first period. Evan Brophey fired a shot that was blocked away by Thomas McCollum but Bryan Bickell was right there to tap in the rebound for his 10th goal of the season 2:14 into the game.
Brophey then finished off a pass from Danny Bois at 11:20 in the first period to put the Hogs up 2-0. Richard Petiot also figured in on the play.
"Any time you can jump out to a 2-0 lead is great," Klinkhammer said. "We'll take that any day of the week. And we just have to carry the momentum the rest of the game."
In an otherwise quiet second period, Grand Rapids got on the board when Mattias Ritola found Justin Abdelkader who slipped one by Corey Crawford at 16:36 in the middle frame. Jan Mursak was also credited with an assist.
The Griffins put some pressure on the IceHogs in the third period, but Rockford had an answer.
Mark Cullen found Pete MacArthur breaking towards McCollum on the IceHogs powerplay at 4:18. MacArthur hammered it home, wtih Bickell also recording an assist on the play.
Jeremy Williams brought the Griffins within a goal, scoring with help from Patrick Rissmiller and Doug Janik at 9:21 on the power play.
"We need to tighten up mentally especially in the D zone," Klinkhammer said. "They were getting a lot of odd-man rushes and getting to us that way. But we'll take a win."
The Hogs responded with two of their own to put the game out of harms way. Bracken Kearns notched his 11th goal of the season at 11:55. Bickell and Akim Aliu got the helpers. At 12:52 Cullen notched his second point of the game, burying the puck in the Griffins' net with help from Kyle Greentree and Matt Keith.
Grand Rapids wasn't done quite yet. Francis Pare brought the score to the final 5-3 with less than two minutes to play off of assists from Evan McGrath and Williams.
Crawford secured the win with 24 saves, while McCollum suffered the loss with 29. Both teams took advantage of one power play, Grand Rapids going 1-for-3 and Rockford 1-for-5.
Next Home Game: Feb. 13 vs. Milwaukee Admirals, 7:05 p.m. The first 2,000 fans to the MetroCentre will pick up a Mr. Potato Head courtesy of Frito Lay and Q98.5.