Rockford, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs (22-14-4-2) scored the opening goal of the game from Brandon Mashinter and that’s all they would need as they defeated the Iowa Wild (13-23-1-1) by the score of 4-0 Friday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
IceHogs goaltender Scott Darling was sharp in the cage as he stopped all 30 shots he faced to pick up his 10th professional shutout and 10th win of the season. The shutout was Rockford’s fifth of the campaign, most since the 2007-2008 season (Corey Crawford-3 and Wade Flaherty-2), and the first IceHogs home shutout since Carter Hutton had one on Feb. 6, 2012, a 1-0 overtime victory over the Chicago Wolves.
The Hogs netted the opening goal six and a half minutes into the first frame as T.J. Brennan was on the half-boards. Brennan passed the puck through some traffic in front of the Wild’s John Curry and found Mashinter, who deflected it home for his eight goal of the season. Brennan and Pokka got credited with an assist. Pokka has three points (three assists) in his last four games.
The Hogs added a pair of goals in the second period to make it a 3-0 game in the middle frame. Dennis Rasmussen picked up a loose puck in the left circle and backhanded it over the left shoulder of Curry to tally his eighth goal of the season 2:59 into the second period.
Less than three minutes later, Labrie lit the lamp to put an early end to Curry’s night with 14:12 remaining in the middle stanza. Labrie gained possession of a loose puck behind the Wild net and wrapped around the cage before sneaking it past Curry.
Already leading by a trio of goals, Garret Ross finished off the scoring at the 6:41 mark of the third period. Ross tallied his team leading 13th marker of the season as he a banged home a loose puck on the power play. Matt Carey and Brennan each chipped in with an assist.
Brennan finished his night with two assists, and Mashinter added one goal and one assist. The game marked Brennan’s team leading seventh multi-point game and Mashinter’s fifth multi-point effort of the season.
Rockford’s penalty kill unit successfully killed of all five chances and has allowed the opposition only two goals in their last 36 chances dating back to Dec. 28. 2014.
Prior to tonight’s matchup, Curry came into the tilt stopping 71 of 73 shots he faced against the IceHogs but allowed three goals on 10 shots in 25:48 to take the loss.
Next Home Game: Monday, Jan. 19 vs. Chicago Wolves. Puck drops at 1 p.m. The IceHogs host the Wolves for their annual Martin Luther King Day game at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The first 1,000 kids under age 14 through the gates to the Illinois Lottery Cup match will leave with a free IceHogs drawstring bag, courtesy of Pepsi. Fans are also encouraged to stick around after the game to take the ice with their favorite players in the first “Skate With The Hogs” of the new year.