Cleveland, Ohio- For the second straight game the Rockford IceHogs came staggering out of the gate in Lake Erie. This time, however, it cost Rockford as they couldn’t overcome a 3-0 hole leading to a 5-3 defeat to the Monsters at the Quicken Loans Arena.
The loss ends Rockford’s four-game winning streak and six game road point streak.
Lake Erie posted two early first period goals to grab control of the frame. Travis Gawryletz put the Monsters on the board at 7:55 when he fired a shot over Joe Fallon’s blocker for his second goal of the season.
T.J. Hensick moved the Monsters advantage to 2-0 when he knocked in a Darren Haydar centering pass on a two-on-one breakaway at 9:22 for his 11th goal of the campaign. The transition started after Rockford failed to convert an odd man rush in the Lake Erie zone.
The IceHogs were outshot 11-1 in the opening frame and managed just five shots on goal in two first periods played in Lake Erie on the weekend.
Period two didn’t start out much better for Rockford as Hensick would make it 3-0. The Monsters winger picked up a Haydar pass, outskated the IceHogs defense and beat Fallon on a breakaway for his second goal of the afternoon just :32 into the second frame.
Adam Hobson later put Rockford on the board at 7:54, cutting the deficit to two. Hobson picked up an Akim Aliu drop pass in the Monsters zone and beat Billy Sauer far post for his second goal of the season.
Pete MacArthur made it a one-goal game when he outworked Hensick in the Lake Erie corner and stepped out in front of Sauer and wrapped his fifth goal of the season in at 9:37.
Lake Erie restored their two-goal cushion at 13:50. Matthew Ford controlled a rebound from a Gawryletz shot and swiped in his 11th goal of the campaign, making it 4-2.
But Rockford responded :17 later to get the game back down to one goal. Bryan Bickell set Kyle Greentree up in the slot and the winger tallied his team-leading 20th goal of the season at 14:07 reducing the Monsters lead to 4-3 heading into the second intermission.
In the third period Rockford had some opportunities on Sauer but couldn’t find the back of the net. The Monsters iced the game when Haydar dumped in an empty net goal at 19:23.
Fallon was saddled with the loss after making 19 saves in two periods of hockey. Corey Crawford replaced him in the third period and stopped all seven shots he faced. Rockford managed 18 shots on Sauer and the Monsters backstop turned away 15 of them.
Next Home Game: Saturday, Feb. 13 vs. Milwaukee Admirals. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The first 2,500 fans to the MetroCentre will pick up a Mr. Potato Head courtesy of Frito Lay and Q98.5. For tickets call (815) 968-5222, on-line at www.metrocentre.com or in person at the MetroCentre Box Office or Hog Headquarters inside CherryVale Mall.