Peoria, Ill.- After scoring just three goals in three games, the Rockford IceHogs were hoping for an offensive breakout on Friday. They got it behind three first period goals to lead them to a 6-4 win over the Peoria Rivermen at Carver Arena.
Peoria grabbed the first goal on Friday night off of a Rockford turnover. Kyle Hagel picked up an attempted Rockford clear out pass and found Tyler Shattock on the doorstep and the winger beat Alec Richards for his first goal of the season at 3:24.
Just under two minutes later Rockford got even with Brian Connelly’s first goal of the year. In transition, winger Ben Smith found Connelly streaking to the net and the d-man fired home the equalizer at 5:20 of the opening frame.
Then at 10:44 Ben Youds got into the scoring act, putting Rockford up 2-1. Jimmy Hayes led a transition rush for Rockford and found Youds on the weak side of Jake Allen, and the rookie dumped his first career pro goal into the Peoria net.
Rockford later found themselves on a power play and used the advantage to increase their lead to 3-1. Connelly fired a shot from the point that Allen blocked down, but Smith cleaned up the rebound for his second goal on the campaign at 14:59.
In the second period the IceHogs continued their offensive outburst. Brett McLean picked up a Brandon Segal pass and snuck his first goal of the season under Allen 1:35 into the middle frame to increase the Rockford lead to 4-1.
Peoria stopped the bleeding and gained some momentum with a Brett Sterling tally at 10:45 of the second. Derek Nesbitt found Sterling in transition and the winger poked home his sixth goal of the season under Richards to make it 4-2.
The IceHogs lead was then reduced to 4-3 with Peoria on the power play. Derek Nesbitt picked up a T.J. Hensick centering feed and the former Hogs winger beat Richards one-on-one in front for his third tally of the season at 11:38.
McLean would grant Rockford their two-goal lead back with a five-on-three power play strike. The center wrapped a puck around Allen at 16:23 for his second marker of the night.
Peoria again reduced the Rockford lead to a goal in the third period. Jake Gannon picked up an attempted IceHogs clear out pass blasted a shot that Brett Sonne deflected in at 10:35.
But on the very next shift Hayes would put the IceHogs back up by two. Hayes carried the puck into the Peoria zone and tallied his first career goal 10:48 of the third period to make it 6-4.
The IceHogs outshot Peoria 39-35 in the game and Richards earned his fourth win of the season, blocking 31 Rivermen shots.
Next Home Game: Saturday, Oct. 29 vs. Peoria Rivermen. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The game marks the third meeting between Rockford and Peoria this season. Saturday’s game is sponsored by Pepsi, and the first 2,500 fans through the doors will receive an IceHogs baseball cap. It is also an Illinois Lottery Cup game. The IceHogs won their first Illinois Lottery Cup matchup against the Rivermen on Oct. 9.
For every goal that the Rockford IceHogs score in 2011-12, IceHogs head coach Ted Dent will make a donation to children’s cancer research. BMO Harris Bank will also make a donation for every goal to the “BMO Harris Bank Goals For Grades” initiative.