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Grimaldi Gives Hogs Game 1 Win with OT Winner

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Rockford, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs defeated the Iowa Wild 3-2 in overtime in Game 1 of the First Round of the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs. The night began with recording artist and songwriter Abby Grimaldi singing the National Anthem, and the contest ended with her husband Rocco Grimaldi scoring the game-winning overtime goal.

In the regular season, seven of the 12 meetings between the IceHogs and Wild went to overtime, and the theme continued after a scoreless third period as the Central Division adversaries went to overtime in Game 1 of the First Round. At 3:59 into overtime, Iowa turned the puck over at their own blue line, and Rockford forward Rocco Grimaldi scooped up the disc and whistled a shot past the glove of Wild netminder Jesper Wallstedt to hand the Hogs a Game 1 win.

The postseason action started just minutes into the first period when the Wild snagged an early 1-0 lead. After Iowa defenseman Dakota Mermis rang a shot off the right iron from the right point, forward Mitchell Balmas flung the loose puck past IceHogs goalie Arvid Soderblom from the low slot at 3:26. Balmas had posted only two goals during the regular season, and his first-period tally against Rockford was his first Calder Cup Playoff goal.

Answering back after a faceoff in the Wild’s zone, the IceHogs quickly tied the contest 1-1. Forward Luke Philp dug the puck out of the face off, and forward Brett Seney angled the disc to the high slot. Dropping down to one knee, forward David Gust blasted a one-timer past Wallstedt at 3:44, just 18 seconds after Balmas’ tally.

Seney gave Rockford the lead just before the first intermission, scoring in his first career postseason game. Defenseman Isaak Phillips pitched a centering pass to Seney who tapped the puck behind Wallstedt at 17:55 to put the IceHogs on top 2-1. The IceHogs outshot the Wild 13-8 in the first period.

The contest tightened when the Wild evened the score on the power play to start the second stanza after defenseman Andy Welinski was charged with a tripping minor at 2:57. Setting up on Petan’s pass to the high slot, Iowa forward Steven Fogarty netted a wrist shot low to the gloveside on Soderblom at 4:14 and tied the game 2-2.

Trying to regain the lead, Rockford’s best look in the middle period came on a hard shot from Grimaldi in the left circle at 8:46. After the loose puck from Lukas Reichel’s attempt was blocked in front of Wallstedt, Grimaldi rifled the puck to the low blocker side, but Wallstedt stretched to make an impressive pad save to keep the IceHogs off the board in the second frame.

The teams traded possessions in the offensive zone in the third period, and the Wild outshot the Hogs 14-8 in the frame.

Soderblom bagged his third career Calder Cup Playoff win after stopping 29 of 31 Iowa shots, and Wallstedt suffered a loss in his first career postseason match with 28 saves on 31 Rockford shots.

IceHogs Game 1 Highlights: IceHogs vs Wild Calder Cup Playoffs 4/19/23

IceHogs Postgame - Game 1 vs. Iowa - 4/19/23: Anders Sorensen, Rocco Grimaldi, Alex Vlasic

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