Rockford, Ill. – An adjustment to their normal game day routine tripped up the Rockford IceHogs (29-17-4-2) as they were handed a 4-0 shutout loss by the San Antonio Rampage (29-18-4-0) in their annual school day game Wednesday afternoon at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
San Antonio scored in each period, including two power play strikes, while goaltender Michael Houser held strong in net stopping all 37 IceHogs attempts. The Rampage picked up their first win against Rockford in four tries as the two clubs closed out their regular season series.
After scoring just one goal in their last meeting on Sunday at the BMO, the Rampage showed why there are the class of the AHL in scoring, jumping out to an early 2-0 advantage in the opening frame.
Just 27 seconds into an early power play, Mackenzie Weegar cashed in on the man advantage and rifled a shot from the blueline that snuck its way past a screened Michael Leighton and to the back of the net.
The Rampage padded the lead just past the midway point in the first period when Brett Olson notched his ninth goal of the season at 10:07. Stationed behind the IceHogs net, John McFarland fired a pass that Olson collected before ripping a shot top-shelf, giving San Antonio the 2-0 lead.
San Antonio continued in the middle stanza, this time cashing in on a 4-on-3 power play opportunity at 12:40 to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Bobby Butler, one of the AHL’s most lethal scorers, played the role of playmaker as he sent a pass that Vincent Trocheck snuck between Leighton and the post on the short side.
Rockford’s intensity picked up in the final 20 minutes as Joakim Nordstrom tried to collect a rebound off Houser but he was unable to find the back of the net. The visitors sealed the win on Greg Zanon’s third of the season at 7:30 with help from Blake Parlett and Ryan Martindale.
Scott Darling replaced Leighton in net to start the third period and denied Rocco Grimaldi on a penalty shot at 12:33 in the third. Darling stopped four of the five shots he faced while Leighton was tagged with the loss after turning away 12 of 15 Rampage chances.
Next Home Game: Friday, Mar. 6 vs. Oklahoma City at 7 p.m. The IceHogs complete their season series with the Barons as Oklahoma City returns to the BMO for Rockford Hockey Club Night. Rockford will be recognizing youth hockey in the community by wearing specialty Rockford Hockey Club sweaters during the game.