ROCKFORD, Ill. - Four different Rockford IceHogs scored and Collin Delia stopped 34 shots to collect a 4-0 shutout victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center. With the win, the Hogs jump into a tie for the third playoff spot in the Central Division alongside the Griffins.
Delia picked up his third shutout of the season in a stellar performance, making 34 saves on 34 Grand Rapids attempts. Delia’s other two shutouts this season came on Jan. 19 at Chicago and Feb. 21 at home against San Antonio.
The Rockford IceHogs opened scoring in the first frame when Garrett Mitchell fired a pass off the boards toward MacKenzie Entwistle. Entwistle raced down the left circle and threw a wrister at the net that slipped past Griffins goaltender, Pat Nagle, to give the IceHogs a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Just under two minutes into the second period, Rockford doubled its lead when Joni Tuulola found Alexandre Fortin streaking through the neutral zone. Fortin raced in on a breakaway and deked left to right to beat Nagle cleanly to make it 2-0.
The IceHogs added to their lead at 12:47 in the second when T.J. Brennan worked the puck behind the Hogs’ net and delivered a bullet to Philipp Kurashev, who entered the Griffins’ zone with Dylan Sikura on a 2-on-1. Kurashev made a move to freeze the defender and sauced a perfect pass to Sikura, who pounded it home to put the IceHogs up by three.
The score remained the same until late in the third when Grand Rapids ran into penalty trouble. On the man-advantage, Sikura collected the puck on the half wall and skated up to the blue line. He drew a defender toward him and then fed Gabriel Gagne at the top of the left circle, who hammered it past Nagle to extend the Hogs’ lead to 4-0.
The IceHogs leapt over the Chicago Wolves and the San Antonio Rampage tonight and now possess 61 points on the season. With a win tomorrow in Grand Rapids, Rockford can seize sole ownership of third place in the Central.
- T.J. Brennan notched two assists in Friday’s win to extend his lead on the roster in career points against the Griffins with 24 (11g, 13a) through 19 contests.
- Gabriel Gagne has scored three goals in his last four games...He now has 11 points (6g, 5a) across 19 appearances with Rockford this season.
- Collin Delia stopped each of the 34 shots he faced on Friday to earn his third shutout of the season and fourth of his professional career...He’s the first IceHogs goaltender to register three or more shutouts in a season since Michael Leighton blanked teams five times in 2015-16.