Grand Rapids, Mich. – A pair of empty-net goals thwarted a comeback effort as the Rockford IceHogs (11-19-2-3) dropped their fourth straight game with a 6-1 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins (22-9-1-2) Saturday night at the Van Andel Arena.
Trailing 4-0 in the third, Nick Schmaltz struck for his sixth goal of the season on a rink-wide give-and-go in the attacking zone with defenseman Carl Dahlstrom. Rockford then earned a four-minute power play on a Ben Street high-sticking penalty late in the frame, but the Griffins snuck home empty-net, shorthanded goals from Tomas Nosek and Mitch Callahan to seal the 6-1 win.
No time was wasted by the Griffins to start the contest. After an IceHogs penalty one minute into the game, Street found a way to sneak a shot from the blueline through traffic in front of IceHogs goalie Mac Carruth to take a 1-0 lead at 1:32.
Street scored again at 4:01, this time dancing to the front of the net and tucking a backhander over the line. Kyle Criscuolo added one more in the first frame, knocking a rebound out of mid-air with 6.8 seconds remaining to cap off a three-goal opening frame.
Martin Frk increased the lead to 4-0 with the lone goal of the second frame, once again on a Griffins power play. Frk took a pass on the left wall and one-timed a shot into the top right corner of the cage as Grand Rapids owned a 4-0 lead going into the third.
Next Home Game: Sunday, January 8 vs. Chicago Wolves: Game time is 4 p.m. at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The first 2,500 fans to enter the arena will receive a copy of the 2016-17 IceHogs team card set, compliments of the Rockford Register Star. After the game, fans have the opportunity to participate in Skate with the Hogs on the BMO Harris Bank Center ice. Fans are required to bring their own skates as there are no rentals available.