ROCKFORD, Ill. – Brandon Hagel cut to the front of the net and buried the game-winning tally late in the second frame and Collin Delia stood tall with 37 saves to lift the Rockford IceHogs to a 4-2 win over the Manitoba Moose Tuesday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
The victory extended the IceHogs’ home winning streak to three straight games and gives Rockford victories in nine of its last 10 contests at the BMO. The IceHogs also jumped into a tie for third place in the Central Division following tonight’s triumph.
Delia returned to the net for his first appearance since Nov. 15 and turned aside 37 of 39 shots to earn his third victory of the campaign. His strong outing featured helping kill four of five opposing power plays and a tremendous post-to-post save midway through the third frame that preserved Rockford’s slim one-goal lead.
MacKenzie Entwistle put the IceHogs on the board first with a nifty forehand-to-backhand move that beat Moose netminder Mikhail Berdin 4:15 in the period. The marker gives Entwistle three points (2g, 1a) over his last two games, including goals in back-to-back contests.
After Seth Griffith knotted score 34 seconds later, Joni Tuulola one-timed a pass off the board from Tyler Sikura to push the IceHogs ahead 2-1. Tuulola went without a goal through his first 18 games this season but has now found twine in each of his last two tilts.
Skyler McKenzie evened things with five minutes remaining in the opening period and the score held at 2-2 until midway through the second. Hagel then raced in on Berdin and tucked the puck around the netminder’s pad for what proved to be the game-winning tally.
Berdin finished with 26 saves on 29 shots in his AHL-leading 21st appearance of the season.
Rockford finished 1-for-4 on the power play tonight with a PPG from MacKenzie Entwistle…The IceHogs have now scored eight power-play goals over their last 12 games.
Collin Delia snapped a personal two-game skid with his victory tonight…Delia has dropped back-to-back decisions in regulation only four times in 62 career AHL appearances (and only once lost three straight games in regulation).
Delia also registered an assist on Entwistle’s goal in the first period…The marker was Delia’s first AHL point of his career.
The IceHogs improved to 9-3-0-0 at home with Tuesday’s victory…Rockford’s nine home wins are the second-most in the entire AHL and trail only Toronto’s 10 victories on home ice this season.