Photo by Greg Hamil
Rockford ties franchise record with five power play goals en route to victory in finale
Rockford, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs wanted to give the fans a proper send off to close out the 2013-14 season and the IceHogs did just that, thumping the Charlotte Checkers 7-3 on Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
After an action packed first period with both squads trading goals, the IceHogs continued the scoring in the middle frame with two goals to regain control of the contest. Charlotte’s Phil DiGiuseppe was tagged with a double minor for high sticking and the IceHogs took advantage, as they would often on the night, going five-for-six on the power play to tie a franchise record for most power play markers in a single game.
Checkers goaltender John Muse turned away an attempt by Alex Broadhurst who was racing in on a breakaway, but Broadhurst collected his own rebound and setup Teuvo Teravainen for his second goal in an IceHogs sweater.
Still working with a man advantage from the double minor penalty, the IceHogs struck again to push the lead to 4-2. Phillip Danault dished a pass for Ryan Hartman to notch his second of the night at 6:59 in the second period. Connelly also figured in on the play for his second point of the game.
The recently named IceHogs Most Improved Player, Terry Broadhurst, extended the IceHogs lead to 5-2 by skating into the zone and firing a wrist shot into the back of the net for his 16th goal of the season just 50 seconds into the third period.
The pinpoint accuracy continued as Brandon Mashinter took a pass from Stephen Johns on the power play and put the puck right where he wanted it, into the top corner of the goal and past Muse. The snipe pushed the lead to 6-2 with 11:13 left in the contest.
Rockford got to Muse for the seventh and final time with 8:12 left in the season. Pat Mullane notched the power play goal that tied the IceHogs franchise record, last achieved on March 14, 2007 against San Antonio.
With 7:17 to go, the Checkers notched their third goal of the night when Ryan Murphy set up Brody Sutter, who put the puck home for the final goal of the 7-3 contest.
In the first period, it was the IceHogs getting on the board first to take the early 1-0 lead. A night after notching his first professional goal, Hartman kept his scoring touch to record his second of the season 3:34 into the period. Danault fired a shot at the Charlotte net and Hartman crashed the net to clean up the rebound.
It didn’t take long for the Checkers to respond, however. Michal Jordan found Victor Rask on the power play and the centerman slipped the puck behind Kent Simpson at 8:12 in the first to tie the game at 1-1.
Rockford regained the advantage at 2-1 after making quick work of their first power play of the night. Defenseman Brian Connelly ripped a shot from the blueline that was knocked down by the Checkers, but the bouncing puck skipped to the back of the net with 5:03 remaining in the period.
Again, Charlotte responded, and again it was via the power play. Murphy garnered his third goal of the season at 16:15 in the first period with help from Zach Boychuk and Justin Shugg.
Simpson picked up his 11th victory of the season with 38 saves on 41 shots.