Cleveland, Ohio – Despite playing from a goal back for a large portion of the contest, the Rockford IceHogs (30-14-6-4) continued to battle and fought back in the third frame to earn a point in 3-2 overtime loss to the Lake Erie Monsters (30-17-5-4) on Saturday night.
Ryan Hartman tied the game when he finished a highlight reel passing play with 10:24 to play. After a drop pass by Hartman at the attacking blue line found Vince Hinostroza, the IceHogs forward took the puck down the right side and made a spin-o-rama backhand pass into the slot. Tanner Kero tipped the puck to Hartman, who blasted a shot off the pads of Anton Forsberg and into the back of the net. The goal knotted the game at 2-2 and forced overtime.
The two teams traded chances in extra time until Daniel Zaar put an end to the action with just over 28 seconds left in OT. Zaar and T.J. Tynan completed a quick give-and-go with Zaar finishing off the play with a one-time shot from the bottom of the left circle to secure a win for Lake Erie.
For the second straight game, the Monsters were able to capitalize on a shorthanded goal in the first frame. Josh Anderson anticipated a pass along the blue line and stole the puck for a clean breakaway into the Rockford zone. The Lake Erie right wing made one quick move and tucked a backhand shot through the five-hole of Mac Carruth at 11:51. It was the only goal in the opening 20 minutes.
Mark McNeill picked up his 15th goal of the season to even the scoring at 4:51 of the second period. Ryan Haggerty stole a clearning attempt by Forsberg and moved a pass to McNeill in front of the net for a one-timer to tie the game at 1-1.
The Monsters regained the lead with a five-on-three goal just before the midway point of the second. With Ville Pokka, Tanner Kero, and Dennis Robertson all in the box, Steve Eminger took a feed a from Michael Chaput and made a quick dish to Oliver Bjorkstrand on the left circle. Bjorkstrand got a quick shot away that just beat Carruth as Lake Erie took a 2-1 lead into the third.
Carruth has a stellar game in net, finishing with 35 saves on 38 shots for Rockford, including a couple of point-blank stops early in the third period. Forsberg stopped 26-of-28 for Lake Erie to earn the victory.
Next Home Game: Tickets for Saturday, March 5 vs. Lake Erie Monsters at 7 p.m are SOLD OUT. Tickets still remain for the game on March 6 versus the Monsters at 4 p.m. March 6 is Autism Awareness Night and after the game, the team will host a “Skate with the Hogs” event where fans will be welcome to skate on the ice with their favorite IceHogs players.