Hogs pick up win before going on five-game road trip
Rockford, Ill.- The Rockford IceHogs are finding ways to win.
The Hogs have trailed in three of their last six victories including Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Lake Erie Monsters at the Rockford MetroCentre.
"Coming from behind is huge for the confidence of the team, knowing that we can do it," said defenseman Richard Petiot. "Finding ways to win is what we're doing right now and hopefully it will carry through the rest of the season."
Lake Erie got it started when T.J. Hensick finished off a breakaway 31 seconds into the game to put the Monsters up 1-0. The Monsters' leading scorer flew into the play with Darren Haydar playing the puck on a breakaway, picked up a pass and slipped it under Corey Crawford.
The IceHogs responded with a goal of their own when Jack Skille fed Bracken Kearns for a short-handed goal at 4:14 in the first frame. Petiot was also credited with an assist.
"We dropped the puck in on the rush," Petiot said. "And then that was a great pass from Skille. I don't know how Skille saw him, but he did. Kearns had a great shot. It was nice for us to pick up a shorthanded goal when we were down 1-0."
Then with Lake Erie still on the power play, Justin Mercier took advantage of a bit of miscommunication on the defensive side 40 seconds later to put the Monsters back up 2-1. Rowe figured in with his second assist of the night, along with help from Brent Skinner.
"Having new defensive partners coming in," Petiot said. "It's important for us to talk and help each other out as much as we can, not playing with each other in the past, we don't know their tendencies so we have to keep talking."
The IceHogs received two new defensemen since playing last. The Chicago Blackhawks traded for Danny Richmond on Monday and Nick Boynton on Wednesday.
The IceHogs came back again and tied the game at 2-2 when Pete MacArthur found Evan Brophey streaking to the net with Rockford on a power play. Brophey picked up the puck and chipped in his 12th goal of the season at 7:20 in the second period. Matt Keith was also credited with a helper.
In the third period, Bryan Bickell picked up a Kearns pass and blasted it by John Grahame on the power play to put the Hogs up 3-2 at 11:27. Brian Connelly also registered an assist.
"Two power play goals, that's good," Petiot said. "Our power play has been down a bit lately so hopefully we can keep it going."
But after that second power play goal, the IceHogs locked it down and held Lake Erie off the board including a 6-on-4 empty-net power play to finish out the game.
Corey Crawford stopped 20 of 22 shots faced, while Grahame made 22 saves. All of Rockford's three goals were on the special teams, with goals coming on two of their five power plays. Lake Erie capitalized on one of their five power plays.
Next Home Game: Sunday, March. 14 vs. Houston Aeros. Game time is 5:05 p.m. Join in the celebration at the Rockford MetroCentre for Hammy's Birthday. The first 2,500 fans into the arena will receive an IceHogs cereal bowl courtesy of General Mills and WROK. The game is also a WXRX Student Rush Night and fans can get Family Four Packs, including four tickets, four hot dogs, four soft drinks and four hot dogs for just $44. Plus, the IceHogs are giving away game-worn jerseys of Bracken Kearns, Mike Brennan, Simon Danis-Pepin, Mark Cullen and Evan Brophey. All jersey winners will be drawn at random and fans can sign up to win at the game.