Cleveland, Ohio - Each team scored quickly in the first period, but the Lake Erie Monsters (35-22-5-5) controlled the rest of the contest en route to a 4-2 victory over the Rockford IceHogs (35-18-8-4) on Thursday night.
The opening period started with a bang as just eight seconds into the contest Lake Erie took a 1-0 lead. Josh Anderson recovered a bouncing puck in the offensive end and his shot was deflected by Lukas Sedlak to get the Monsters on the board.
The IceHogs answered right back at 1:17 of the frame. Defenseman Jonathan Carlsson snagged his first goal of the season with an uncontested wrister from the right circle into the top corner of the cage to tie the game at 1-1.
Lake Erie nearly regained the lead halfway through the period, but a shot through traffic from Kerby Rychel struck the goal post and stayed out of the net. Rockford was outshot 17-5 in the first 20 minutes.
Rockford started to gain some momentum to start the second frame, as the Monsters took three consecutive penalties at the beginning of the period. The IceHogs were unable to take advantage, leaving the door open for Lake Erie to regain the lead. At 12:43 of the stanza, Markus Hannikainen broke into the Rockford zone and roofed a wrister to snap the tie.
Sonny Milano doubled the advantage with 3:13 left in the second. After taking a feed from Trent Vogelhuber, Milano stickhandled up the left side and was able to drive the puck inside the right post to put the Monsters up 3-1 going into the third.
Milano added to the Lake Erie advantage at 12:00 of the third. A tic-tac-toe passing play started with T.J. Tynan firing a pass to Kerby Rychel who made a one-touch play to Milano in front of the net for the tap in tally. The goal extended the Lake Erie lead to 4-1.
The IceHogs never surrendered and Jake Dowell notched his 10th goal of the campaign with 43 seconds left in the contest. A shot from Nick Mattson from the left circle trickled through Anton Forsberg and Dowell whacked it over the line for the final strike of the game.
Mac Carruth stopped 31 of 35 shots during the game for Rockford, while Forsberg turned aside 23 of 25 to earn the win.
Next Home Game: Friday, Apr. 1 vs. San Antonio Rampage at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 5:15 p.m. for a Blues Flame Friday. Fans 21-and-older are invited to enjoy live blues music, a happy hour special, and free appetizers at the Blue Flame Lounge on the main concourse.