Rockford, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs topped the Grand Rapids Griffins 5-1 on Sunday evening and won their first regulation game at the BMO Center since Dec. 31. Arvid Soderblom stopped 36 Grand Rapids shots, and Brett Seney tallied twice to propel the IceHogs past the Griffins.
Rockford appeared to be playing with urgency from puck drop. After not registering a shot on goal in the first period against the Wolves on Saturday night, the hard-hitting, back-and-forth first frame ended with the Hogs outshooting the Griffins 13-12.
Scoring a goal for the first time in seven periods, the IceHogs snagged the first lead of the contest late in the first period. After forward Buddy Robinson fired a shot from the right circle that was denied, forward Luke Philp swooped into the slot and punched the loose puck past the blocker of Griffins goalie John Lethemon at 16:08 and took a 1-0 lead before the first intermission.
Just 15 seconds into the second stanza, forward Mike Hardman bulldozed his way into the slot and drove a shot at Lethemon, and forward Brett Seney flicked in the rebound to extend Rockford’s lead to 2-0.
The IceHogs stretched their lead to 3-0 after defenseman Jakub Galvas netted his third goal of the season. Forward Cameron Hillis shuffled the disc through the left circle, and Galvas snuck a slap shot behind Lethemon at 5:10. Rookie defenseman Andrew Perrott notched his first AHL point with an assist on the play.
Grand Rapids clipped Rockford’s lead back to two goals when Griffins forward Danny O’Regan knocked the puck past IceHog goaltender Arvid Soderblom on the power play, cutting the score to 3-1 at 6:56.
After Galvas’ goal, netminder Ryan Bednard stepped in the net for Lethemon at 5:10 of the second frame.
At 15:54 in the third, the Griffins pulled Bednard in favor of an extra skater, and after scoring his 20th goal of the season in the middle period, Seney snapped in an empty-netter from the slot on a clean breakaway at 16:29 of the final frame and gave the Hogs a 4-1 lead with his 21st tally of the campaign.
Perrott registered his first AHL goal late at 18:45 in the third period after his shot from the right point deflected past Bednard and sealed the IceHogs’ 5-1 victory.
Soderblom earned the IceHogs Third Star of the Game with 36 saves on 37 Grand Rapids shots for his 11th win of the season. Lethemon turned away 16 of 19 Rockford shots and was tagged with the loss, and Bednard stopped 18 of 19 Rockford shots.
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