Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars
Simpson makes 41 more saves to earn win
Cedar Park, Tex.- With 10 rookie skaters on the roster, the Rockford IceHogs are going to have to get some contribution from first year players if they are going to be successful.
On Sunday, they did just that, led once again by Kent Simpson who made 41 saves in Rockford's 4-3 win over the Texas Stars at Cedar Park Center. Simpson made 90 saves in Rockford's two contests to open the season.
The Stars struck first on Sunday as Travis Morin continued his hot opening weekend. The center picked up a Colton Sceviour pass and fired his third goal of the season over the shoulder of Simpson at 6:32.
Later in the frame, a power play goal extended the Stars advantage to 2-0. Travis Morin, who had four points on Saturday, set up Curtis McKenzie in front of the Hogs' goal and the winger flipped his first tally of the season past Simpson.
Rockford, however, countered with the next two goals. Jeremy Morin ripped his first goal of the campaign over the blocker shoulder of Cristopher Nilstorp at 11:33 in a transition rush with help from Byron Froese. The IceHogs tied the score at 2-2 on their first power play chance of the night. Adam Clendening's point shot banked off the inside of the post and in at 14:47, assisted by Brad Mills and Brandon Pirri.
In the second period, the IceHogs grabbed a 3-2 lead moments after Alex Broadhurst failed to convert on a penalty shot attempt, as Klas Dahlbeck gave Rockford their first lead of the season. Dahlbeck beat Nilstorp with a slapshot at 10:12 for his first goal of the season. Mark McNeill and Phillip Danault marked assists on the goal, the first pro points for both skaters.
Mike Hedden came back to tie it for Texas at 11:22. Hedden was able to poke in a loose puck in a scrum in front of Simpson for his first goal on the new year.
But McNeill put the IceHogs back on top with his first professional goal. The rookie winger forced a turnover inside the Texas blueline and snipped the marker under the cross bar at 18:24, giving Rockford a 4-3 advantage at the second intermission.
In the final frame and with Nilstorp on the bench in favor of the extra attacker, Texas swarmed the Rockford goal in search of the equalizer, but Simpson and the IceHogs staved off the threat and skated away with their first win of the season.
Next Home Game: Saturday, Oct. 19 vs. Grand Rapids. Game time is 7 p.m. Rockford opens the home portion of their regular season schedule against the Griffins. The first 5,000 fans to the game will receive an IceHogs calendar courtesy of Stateline Staffing Services. For tickets, call (815) 968-5222, visit IceHogs.com or in person at the BMO Harris Bank Center Box Office or at any Ticketmaster outlet.