Rockford, Ill.- A sold out crowd at the BMO Harris Bank Center was treated to an impressive goaltending duel that eventually saw the Rockford IceHogs come away with a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Wolves in a shootout.
Jason LaBarbera made 35 saves for the Hogs in regulation and an extra overtime session before stopping another four in the shootout to help Rockford earn the 2-1 win.
Despite a scoreless first period, both goaltenders, LaBarbera and Matt Climie for Chicago, were on top of their game, fending off numerous chances. Shots on goal at the end of the first period were 9-11 in Rockford’s favor.
It took 6:10 into the second frame before the first goal went up on the scoreboard and it was the Wolves who struck first. A pass from Nathan Longpre hopped over the stick of a Hogs’ defender and sent Cody Beach on a mini breakaway. Beach took advantage and slipped in his fourth of the season past LaBarbera to put Chicago out in front 1-0.
Then, with just 41.6 seconds left on the clock in the second frame, Adam Clendening fired a shot from the blueline that Brad Mills tipped over the shoulder of Climie to tie the game at 1-1. The assist for Clendening was his 42nd of the season and he broke an all-time record for assists by a defenseman in a single-season, previously held by Brian Connelly.
The goaltenders again were stellar on both ends of the ice holding the game at a 1-1 tie through regulation and an overtime session.
Rockford earned the victory with goals from Garret Ross and Pierre-Marc Bouchard in the shootout.
Climie was tagged with a loss despite stopping 31 of the 32 shots he faced. Tonight’s matchup will go down in Rockford’s record book for the second-best attendance during the team’s AHL era with 6,513 fans.
Next Home Game: Friday, Mar. 28 against Grand Rapids Griffins. The first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive an IceHogs sock monkey courtesy of BMO Harris Bank.