Abbott ignites offense with two tallies in final period
Rockford, Ill. – First the first time since March 22 of last season, the Rockford IceHogs (35-19-5-2) won at the BMO Harris Bank Center in a game that required a shootout. The IceHogs defeated the Adirondack Flames (30-23-6-2) by the score of 4-3 in the skills competition on Wednesday to begin a season long four-game home stand.
For much of the first two periods Spencer Abbott and the rest of the IceHogs had been frustrated by Adirondack goaltender Brad Thiessen as they were only able to registered one goal despite firing 27 shots on the Flames’ net. That all changed during the final stanza as Abbott netted a pair of tallies in the final 20 minutes plus he added the game-deciding goal in the shootout.
Just over five minutes into the third period and trailing 2-1, Peter Regin picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and had Abbott alongside as they raced into the Adirondack zone. Regin fired the disc to the net and Abbott redirected the pass behind the goalie for his 10th goal of the season and to tie the game at 2-2.
Less than three minutes later, Regin again gathered a loose puck in the offensive zone and displayed some patience as he faked a shot that pulled Thiessen out of the blue paint. The Danish forward then fired a shot at the cage that the Flames goalie initially stopped but Abbott dug it out and buried his second tally of the night to regain the lead for the IceHogs at the 10:17 in the third period.
With time winding down Adirondack upped the pressure and found the equalizer with 3:07 remaining. Ken Agostino found Ben Hanowski for his 12th goal of the season to knot the score at three aside.
In an action packed overtime frame each team traded chances but neither was able to find the back of the net due in large part to the strong play from both goaltenders.
Leighton not only fended off a numerous chances in the extra session but he was perfect in the shootout, stopping all three Flames shooters and 31 total for the game. Abbott provided the offense for the IceHogs to earn the victory as he was the only blemish for Theissen in the skills competition after turning aside 41 chances.
The IceHogs got on the board first as they turned in a strong opening 20 minutes. Dane Walters fired a pass onto the stick of Dennis Rasmussen who then redirected the puck past Thiessen’s outstretched glove to give the Hogs the 1-0 lead. Keith Seabrook picked up his first IceHogs point as he and Walters each got assists on Rasmussen’s ninth marker of the season with 12:02 remaining in the first frame.
Just 32 seconds into the stanza the IceHogs sent out their power play unit after an interference infraction against the Flames. However, Adirondack forced a turnover at the Hogs’ blueline and Garnet Hathaway received a pass from Max Reinhart before roofing a backhanded shot over the glove of Michael Leighton to tie the contest at one.
Later in the middle frame the visitors continued to pressure Rockford. Agostino corralled a rebound from the right circle of the IceHogs net and banged home the puck over Leighton’s pads with 15:23 left in the frame.
Regin, picked up a pair of assists on the two Abbott markers extending his point streak to six games. The 28 year-old now has seven points (2g-5a) in his last six games and 10 points (3g-7a) in nine of his last 11 games.
Next Home Game: Saturday, March 21 vs. Adirondack Flames: Face-off is at 7 p.m. The IceHogs and Flames meet up again during Country Night at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Local band Long-Shot will be providing live music, and the first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive an IceHogs BBQ apron courtesy of Vienna Beef.