Des Moines, Iowa – The offense for the Rockford IceHogs (9-2-0-1) continued its torrid pace on Thursday as they knocked off the Iowa Wild (2-8-0-0) 5-3 in a rare day game to pick up their seventh straight win.
Rockford’s offense picked up right where it left off with a dominating first period that had the visiting IceHogs up 2-0 and leading shots on goal 21-3 after the first 20 minutes of play.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie opened the scoring with his first goal of the season. Labrie found a loose puck in the Wild goal crease from Matt Carey’s shot and pushed it to the back of the net at 5:26 in the opening frame. Then, the IceHogs cashed in on a power play to extend the lead to 2-0. Wild goaltender John Curry turned aside a few chances before Brandon Mashinter setup Joakim Nordstrom at 13:33.
The IceHogs continued to power along in the second period when Drew LeBlanc deposited his first tally of the season to push the score to 3-0. Carey and TJ Brennan fed LeBlanc and he backhanded one to the back of the Iowa cage.
Part of Rockford’s recent surge has been led by Mark McNeill and he continued his hot stretch at 13:42 in the middle stanza, adding his team-best sixth goal of the season and fourth over the last three contests.
Despite being outplayed for the first half of the game, the Wild came fighting back to close out the second period. Michael Keranen slipped a pass from behind the Rockford net for Brady Bassart to slap in with 1:15 remaining in the second. One minute later, Mashinter was stopped on a breakaway on the Wild end and Iowa pushed back the other way to make it a two-score game. Scott Darling stopped an attempt by Stu Bickel, but Marc Hagel located the loose puck and chipped it in to bring the score to 4-2.
The Wild continued to mount a comeback when Brett Sutter found Jordan Schroeder and the center snuck a shot under the crossbar 4:20 into the final frame.
Rockford responded on the power play at 9:36 to put a hault on any comeback attempt from the Wild. With traffic in front of Curry, Nordstrom whacked in a rebound from Adam Clendening’s blast from the point to seal the Hogs’ 5-3 win.
It marked the fourth straight game in which the IceHogs offense has tallied five or more goals (21 total).
Darling made 30 saves to stay a perfect 5-0-0 on the campaign, while Curry was handed the loss despite stopping 39 chances.
Next Home Game: Saturday, Nov. 8 vs. Grand Rapids Griffins. Game starts at 7 p.m. Rockford will make their salute to the Armed Forces when they host the Griffins for Military Night at the BMO Harris Bank Center. In addition to recognizing past and current service men and women throughout the night, the first 2,500 fans will receive an IceHogs camouflage hat courtesy of Pepsi.