01/08/2011 7:45 PM
By: Nate Haeni
Defense gets offensive in 6-0 win
Photo by Greg Hamil
Rockford, Ill.- If there has been one constant thing for the Rockford IceHogs in 2010-11, it's been against Grand Rapids as the Hogs trounced the Griffins 6-0 on Saturday at the Rockford MetroCentre.
Rockford is 3-0-0-0 against the Griffins in 2010-11 and the IceHogs have picked up points in 11-straight games (10-0-0-1) against Grand Rapids.
Defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and Shawn Lalonde ignited Rockford's offense with three tallies in the opening frame.
Ben Smith picked up a pass from Evan Brophey and fired it in on Joey MacDonald who knocked it down but the Griffins couldn't clear it. Vishnevskiy picked up the loose puck and sent it to the back of the net to put the Hogs up 1-0 at 4:35 in the first.
Then, just four seconds into an IceHogs power play Vishnevskiy notched his second goal of the night. Smith won the faceoff and sent the puck back to Vishnevskiy and he ripped a shot past MacDonald to make it 2-0 at 5:51.
The IceHogs extended their lead to 3-0 as Lalonde got in on the scoring. Kyle Beach dished the puck to Lalonde and he blasted one from just inside the blue line to light the lamp at 15:06 in the first stanza. Brian Connelly also registered an assist on the play.
Rockford opened the second period the same way they finished the first and added to their lead. Smith dropped a pass off for Connelly just outside the right face-off circle and he wristed in his fourth of the season at :34 in the second period. Brophey picked up his second assist as Smith added his third.
The Hogs quickly made it 5-0 as Jeff Taffe scored his team-leading tenth of the season. Ryan Potulny picked up a pass from Mathis Olimb behind the Griffins net and sent a pass out in front for Taffe to one-time it over the glove of Jordan Pearce at 3:47 in the second period.
Then the IceHogs tacked on another at 8:13 in the third period to finish the Griffins off. Peter LeBlanc picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and fed Beach skating over the blue line. Beach wristed the puck from the point and it slipped past Pearce to the back of the net. Garnet Exelby also factored in with an assist on the play.
Alec Richards stopped all 22 shots he faced to pick up his second shutout on the campaign. MacDonald was tagged with the loss turning away 12-of-16 attempts before being chased from the game. Pearce stopped 17-of-19 shots in relief for Grand Rapids.
The IceHogs power play converted on 1-of-5 man advantages while holding Grand Rapids off the board with only one chance.
Next Home Game: Wednesday, Jan. 12 vs. Houston Aeros: Puck drop is at 6:35 p.m. Wednesdays are Dollar Days at the MetroCentre. Fans can enjoy dollar Bud Selects, Vienna Beef hotdogs, Pepsi Products and companion tickets.