Photo courtesy Reese Strickland
Hogs top Wild 4-2 for weekend sweep
Des Moines, Iowa- With five more games played than the Iowa Wild, the Rockford IceHogs were looking for regulation wins over their Midwest Division rivals. In a two-game set at the Wells Fargo Arena, Rockford got just that, capped by a 4-2 win on Sunday.
The IceHogs are riding a season best point streak of seven straight games (6-0-0-1) and have an eight point lead on Iowa while moving in third place in the Midwest Division.
Jeremy Morin entered play on Sunday riding a six game point streak and he would stretch it to seven with his team leading 17th goal of the season in the first period. Pierre-Marc Bouchard started a rush for Rockford and found Morin at center where the winger split the Iowa defense and slipped the marker past John Curry at 14:53.
Later in the frame, Garret Ross poked a puck out from underneath Wild defenseman Kyle Medvec and Brandon Mashinter fed Brandon Pirri in front where he fired home his seventh goal of the season at 18:37.
The IceHogs, however, couldn't get out of the period with the two goal lead. Curt Gogol followed a Taylor Matson shot and knocked in his fourth goal of the campaign past Jason LaBarbera at 19:48 to make it 2-1 at the first intermission.
The second period has been a struggle for Rockford this season, but on Sunday the Hogs and LaBarbera held Iowa off the board while allowing just nine shots on goal to preserve the 2-1 advantage heading into the third period.
In the third frame, Iowa tied it with a power play goal. Jonathan Blum fired a Zack Phillips pass through traffic and past LaBarbera at 10:18 of the final period for his sixth goal of the season.
Pirri and Rockford responded to reclaim the lead at 15:02 in the third. Bouchard snagged a loose puck behind the Iowa goal, dropped it off to Pirri and the center tucked in his second goal of the game with Curry looking over the wrong shoulder.
Mashinter finished off the Wild with Rockford's second empty net goal in as many nights and his ninth goal of the year at 19:34.
Next Home Game: Friday, Feb. 21 vs. Chicago Wolves. Opening face-off is set for 7 p.m. at the BMO Harris Bank Center as the Wolves return to Rockford for a second consecutive Friday night matchup. The first 2,500 fans to the BMO will receive an IceHogs water bottle courtesy of Rock Valley Culligan.