Rockford, Ill. – 24 hours after falling 4-2 to the Lake Erie Monsters (12-9-2-2) at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, the Rockford IceHogs (18-7-2-1) flipped the script around and defeated the Monsters Saturday night by the score of 5-2.
For the fourth time this season, an IceHogs player scored a hat trick. Tallying a goal in each of three periods, Joakim Nordstrom became the third different player for the Hogs to have a three goal performance. Nordstrom also chipped in a first-period assist, giving him four points on the night; the first time an IceHogs skater has notched four in a game this season.
Nordstrom started the contest much like the IceHogs did last night and gave Rockford an early one goal lead. Skating the across the blueline in the offensive zone, the 22-year-old captain fired a shot on Sami Aittokallio and slipped the puck in the net just 63 seconds into the contest. T.J. Brennan and Ville Pokka each picked up an assist on the goal.
After struggling to convert a power play in five straight games prior to tonight’s contest, the Hogs doubled their lead and made it a 2-0 score following a power play goal by Jeremy Morin. Morin was on the receiving end of some tic-tac-toe passing from Teuvo Teravainen and Nordstrom.
Lake Erie’s captain Bruvo Gervais was able to cut the Rockford lead in half making it a 2-1 as he chipped a shot over IceHogs goalie Mac Carruth with 13:29 left in the first period.
The teams traded scoring chances later in the period but the two clubs went into their dressing rooms with Rockford leading 2-1.
Already having a power play marker, the Hogs were on another five-on-four advantage to start the second period. With traffic in front of Aittokallio, Brandon Mashinter attempted a backhanded try but was denied. Garret Ross found the rebound and tried to jam the puck into the net when Nordstrom was able to locate a loose puck in the crease and poked home his second tally of the game 1:11 in the middle frame.
The IceHogs took a couple of penalties after the early goal in the middle frame, but Carruth and the shorthanded unit kept the Monsters from cutting the lead and kept the score at 3-1 after two periods.
7:54 into the third stanza the Monsters made it one goal game as Markus Lauridsen picked up a pass from Maxim Noreau and dumped it behind Carruth.
Later in the period while skating in the offensive zone, Nordstrom found himself open in front of the cage and fired a wrist on net and picked up his first career AHL hat-trick with 6:08 on the clock. Ryan Hartman and Brennan helped set up the Tyreso, Sweden native.
Down a pair of goals with under three minutes left in regulation, Lake Erie decided to pull Aittokallio. Mashinter scored his fourth multi-point game of the year by adding an empty net goal with 2:06.
Brennan notched his fifth multi-point game of the season as he had a pair of assist on the night giving him 16 points (5g-11a) in 12 of his last 15 games.
Carruth making his second appearance of the season, made 25 saves to earn his second victory while Aittokallio 31 saves and took the loss.
Next Home Game: Friday, Dec. 26 vs. Iowa Wild. Puck drops at 7 p.m. The IceHogs return home from a six-game swing on the road to take on the Wild at the BMO. Fans 21-and-over can come out early for another Blues Flame Lounge Pre-Game Party, where they can enjoy free appetizers, live music and drink specials. Doors open at 5:15 p.m.