ROCKFORD SQUANDERS LEAD, LOSE 6-3

By: Fritz Stillings
Photo by Greg Hamil

Rockford, Ill. – Six unanswered goals and a relentless Texas Stars power play unit erased a 3-0 Rockford IceHogs lead, sending the Hogs to their second consecutive loss at the BMO Harris Bank Center on Monday afternoon.

The Stars began to chip away at the 3-0 deficit during the second period when Tomas Vincour tipped in a shot past Rockford’s newest goaltender Kent Simpson at the 3:30 mark. Just 1:34 later, Texas added another when Jamie Oleksiak delivered a shot in traffic that Alex Chiasson tipped in to bring Texas within a goal.

Midway through the frame, the Stars kept applying pressure and knotted the score while on their third power play of the afternoon. Toby Petersen found Maxime Fortunus in the high slot and sent the puck in through traffic and past Simpson to square things up at 3-3.

After Adam Clendening was whistled for a tripping penalty, Martin St. Pierre was called for a high-stick, putting Texas on a 5-on-3 power play for 1:57. Justin Dowling cashed in on the two-man advantage, tallying at the 5:11 mark of the third period and putting the Stars out in front 4-3.

Just 1:34 later, while on their sixth power play opportunity, Antoine Roussel tallied the third Stars power-play goal of the contest, padding the Texas lead to 5-3.

In an effort to overcome the 5-3 Texas lead, Rockford pulled Simpson with just over two minutes remaining, but Matt Fraser picked off a pass in the Texas zone and added an empty-net marker to solidify the Stars 6-3 victory.

It was the second time the Stars erased a 3-0 Rockford lead at the BMO Harris Bank Center this season, doing so back on Nov. 27 in what ended in a 5-4 triumph for Texas.

Rockford opened the scoring 3:38 into the contest just as a power play expired. Jeremy Morin sniped his 14th lamp lighter of the season past Texas goaltender Richard Bachman to give the IceHogs the 1-0 advantage. Morin’s tally was assisted by Martin St. Pierre and Peter LeBlanc and marked St. Pierre’s 600th professional point of his career.

While on their second power play of the period, Brandon Pirri found Ben Youds at the blue line, who ripped a shot in on net for Jimmy Hayes to tip in over Bachman, extending the IceHogs lead to 2-0 at the 11:52 mark.

Just under two minutes into the second period, Rockford caught Texas in a line change as Ryan Stanton passed the puck up to Hayes at the blue line. Hayes skated in all alone and made a nifty move to fake out Bachman before flipping the puck into a wide open net, giving Rockford the 3-0 advantage.

Next Home Game: Friday, Jan. 25 vs. Chicago Wolves. Game time is 7:05 p.m. Rockford and Chicago meet in an Illinois Lottery Cup matchup at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The first 2,500 fans to the game will pick up an IceHogs fleece blanket courtesy of OSF St. Anthony Medical Center.



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