Rockford, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs capped their regular season with a spectacular offensive outburst, defeating the Milwaukee Admirals by a 7-1 score in front of a sold-out BMO Harris Bank Center on Saturday.
A raucous crowd of 6,402 packed the BMO to mark the team’s 11th sellout of the season, which set a new franchise record and guaranteed the team to average over 5,000 fans per game for the first time in its history. The crowd was in for a treat as Mac Carruth backstopped Rockford to its third-straight win and extended his shutout streak to 152:17 before finally allowing a goal to the Admirals in the third period. Rockford will host the Lake Erie Monsters on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Game 1 of the best-of-five Central Division Semifinals.
After using a three-goal third period to finish of the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday night, the offense picked up right where they left off with three more to open Saturday’s contest.
IceHogs Rookie of the Year, Vince Hinostroza, got the scoring frenzy started with his 17th of the season 5:21 into the game. Hinostroza raced into the offensive zone before eluding an Admirals defender and snapping a shot past Marek Mazanec.
In the 12th and final meeting of the season, it didn’t take long for the tempers to flare between Rockford and Milwaukee. An altercation between Ryan Hartman and Jimmy Oligny resulted in a five minute major assessed to the Admirals and a two minute roughing minor to the Hogs.
Skating four-a-side, Rockford took advantage of the open ice to bump the lead up to 2-0. Hinostroza led the charge into the Milwaukee zone before dumping a pass off for Jonathan Carlsson. The defenseman took the pass and curled around a defender before ripping a shot to the back of the net at 12:57.
On a five-on-three advantage, Dennis Rasmussen set up a Ville Pokka one-timer at the top of the faceoff circle. Positioned in front of the cage, Mark McNeill caught a piece of Pokka’s blast to collect his team-best 24th goal of the season.
Rockford continued the offensive onslaught in the middle frame. Tyler Motte powered towards the Milwaukee cage but Mazanec denied his attempt. A crashing Chris DeSousa found the rebound and fired it home to push the score to 4-0 at 10:23 of the second period.
The Hogs tallied a pair of goals in quick succession in the third period before finally conceding one to the Admirals. In his return from injury, Ryan Hartman tipped home a point shot by Robin Norell at 3:21, and McNeill potted his second of the evening just ten seconds later to extend the advantage to 6-0.
Max Gortz finished off a tic-tac-toe play at 6:59 of the third to prevent a second consecutive shutout for Carruth, but the netminder held on the rest of the way.
Hinostroza wrapped up a three-point night by slamming home a five-on-three power-play goal at 17:37, notching his 18th goal and team-leading 51st point of the season.
Carruth stopped 24 shots in the win while Mazenec saved 26 for Milwaukee in a losing effort. Rockford finished 2-for-7 on the power play while allowing one goal in six man advantages against.
Next Home Game: Wednesday, April 20 vs. Lake Erie Monsters at 7 p.m. The IceHogs host the Monsters for Game 1 of the Central Division Semifinals. The first 2,500 fans through the gates will receive an IceHogs rally towel courtesy BMO Harris Bank.