Rockford, Ill.- Behind P.C. Labrie’s hat trick, the Rockford IceHogs (33-14-7-7) dominated the Milwaukee Admirals (36-20-3-0) by a score of 5-2 to gain separation in the Central Division standings.
Labrie’s hat trick marks the first for the IceHogs this season, while three other skaters finished with multi-point nights – Jake Dowell (1g-1a), Kyle Baun (2a), and Viktor Svedberg (2a).
Labrie’s first goal came in the second period at 5:22 on a breakaway opportunity with Dowell. The two skated down the ice towards Admirals goaltender, Marek Mazanec. Giving the Milwaukee netminder plenty of time to sweat out the impending shot, Dowell pushed a pass up to Labrie, who snapped the puck over Mazanec’s right shoulder to even the score at 1-1.
Feeding off the energy created by their captain and the assistant captain early in the middle frame, Rockford continued the offensive power for the rest of the period. Baun found Dowell in front of the net and he slammed in the puck to take the 2-1 lead at 8:24.
Matt Fraser scored his first goal in an IceHogs sweater to finish off three strikes over a 4:49 span. Pokka got the puck at the right point, going defenseman-to-defenseman to Cumiskey and he found Fraser waiting at the top of the left circle, blasting a wrister past Mazanec.
Labrie’s second goal came two minutes in to the final frame. Winning the faceoff in the right circle in the IceHogs offensive zone, Vince Hinostroza directed the puck in front of the net for Labrie to bank in.
To polish off the hat trick, with Mazanec out of net, Labrie gained control of the puck and shot it in to the empty net to finish off the Admirals at 5-2.
The Admirals got the game scoring started with the only goal in the first period. Halfway through Garret Ross’s hooking penalty at 8:18, defenseman Stefan Elliott faked out two IceHogs defenders, and made a quick pass to a waiting Vladislav Kamenev, who shot a bullet past Michael Leighton.
The Admirals nearly pushed their advantage to 2-0 when they were awarded a penalty shot 24 seconds in to the second frame. Kevin Fiala juked multiple times in front of Leighton before going for the backhanded shot but was denied by the IceHogs netminder.
Down by three, the Admirals were not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Midway through the frame, Adam Payerl lifted a backhand shot that found its way through traffic in front of the net and in to the top corner of the cage.
Leighton earned his 28th victory of the season by blocking 26 of the 28 pucks sent his way. Mazanec stopped 23 of the 27 shots he faced in a losing effort.
Next Home Game: Tuesday, Mar. 15 vs. Charlotte Checkers. After a weekend series in Charlotte, the two teams battle it out in Rockford. The BMO will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a little early. Danny’s Gone Rogue will be playing in the Blue Flame Lounge, and those age 21-and-older can take advantage of drink specials and green beer. Fans can also enjoy $2 beers, soda, and companion tickets at the game.