Rockford, Ill.- The Rockford IceHogs tallied midway through the third period to take the 5-4 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins in a back-and-forth affair on Sunday at the Rockford MetroCentre.
The IceHogs and Griffins traded blows throughout the game as the lead changed five times before the Hogs were finally able to seal the deal on a Ryan Potulny marker. Jeff Taffe powered across the Griffins zone and sent a cross-ice pass to Potulny who zipped a slap shot past McCollum at 10:56 in the third period.
One night after falling into a four goal deficit, the IceHogs got the scoring started early. Potulny led a two-on-one breakaway at 1:35 in the first period and found Simon Danis-Pepin streaking towards the front of the net. Danis-Pepin picked up the pass and chipped in his first goal of the season to put the Hogs up 1-0. Taffe was also credited with an assist on the play.
But Grand Rapids responded with two goals of their own. Francis Pare found Doug Janik as he put home his first goal of the season at 13:28. Jamie Johnson also factored in on the play with an assist.
Then, the Griffins took a 2-1 lead at 19:48 in the first with a power play marker. Brendan Smith and Tomas Tatar dished the puck to Cory Emmerton and he blasted it by Alec Richards.
The IceHogs battled right back as Evan Brophey opened the second period with a goal. Brophey picked up the puck and fired it past Thomas McCollum to make it 2-2. Danis-Pepin picked up his second point of the night with the assist, along with Rob Klinkhammer.
Grand Rapids made it 3-2 when Logan Pyett sent the puck to the back of the net at 9:54 with a power-play blast.
Again the IceHogs responded, this time with two goals to regain the lead. Shawn Lalonde's initial shot was turned away by McCollum but Klinkhammer was there to knock it in from point blank at 11:43 in the second period. Kyle Beach also had the helper.
Then, Igor Makarov gave the Hogs a 4-3 lead at 19:02 when he slapped in a rebound from a Ben Smith drive, Brandon Pirri was also credited with an assist.
But Grand Rapids wasn’t done and tied it up at 4-4 when Mursak buried his first goal of the season at 1:45 in the third period. Tatar found Mursak and he slipped it past Richards’ blocker.
Richards turned away 25 shots to pick up the win, while McCollum was tagged with a loss after stopping 28 shots. Rockford’s power play was held in check as they couldn’t convert on three chances. Grand Rapids was two-for-three on the man advantage.