Rockford, Ill. – In a matchup between the American Hockey League’s best and hottest teams it was the Lake Erie Monsters (12-8-2-2) that continued their hot streak to knock off the top ranked Rockford IceHogs (17-7-2-1) 4-2 on Friday.
The win for Lake Erie is their six straight while the club has picked up points over their last eight contests (7-0-1-0).
After exchanging goals in the first period, Lake Erie took control of the game in the second frame. A loose puck behind the Rockford net ricocheted out in front to Lake Erie’s Troy Bourke and the centerman fired it past Michael Leighton at 7:21 to give the Monsters a 2-1 advantage.
Just before the second period expired the Monsters were able to add to their lead and push the score to 3-1. Stefan Elliot knocked down an IceHogs clearing attempt and walked right in close before ripping a shot that lit the lamp with 47 seconds left in the frame.
With a two-man advantage to begin the third period, Lake Erie converted to build the lead even more. Joey Hishon fed Colin Smith for his seventh on the campaign just 56 seconds in, bringing the score to 4-1.
The IceHogs wouldn’t be done however. Phillip Danault chipped in his fourth goal of the season at 8:36, giving him two points on the night (1g-1a), to make it a two-goal game. Rockford pulled Leighton late in the game in favor of the extra attacker but Lake Erie’s netminder Sami Aittokallio came up big down the stretch robbing the IceHogs of any comeback bid.
The IceHogs dropped their second game to Lake Erie in less than a week but will have a chance at redemption on Saturday as the two teams meet again at Quicken Loans Arena at 6 p.m.
T.J. Brennan picked up right where he left off to start the game for the IceHogs. Brennan recorded Rockford’s game-winning marker on Wednesday against Milwaukee and gave the IceHogs an early 1-0 advantage just 27 seconds into the game. The d-man received a pass from Garret Ross at the blueline and rifled a shot that found the back of the net.
Just after their second power play Lake Erie matched the early strike to even the game at one aside. Markus Lauridsen worked a puck around to Maxim Noreau and the defenseman potted his sixth goal of the campaign with 4:15 left in the opening frame.
Rockford’s power play was held off the board for the fifth straight game, while Lake Erie converted on one of its four chances.
Next Home Game: Friday, Dec. 26 vs. Iowa Wild. Puck drops at 7 p.m. The IceHogs return home from a six-game swing on the road to take on the Wild at the BMO. Fans 21-and-over can come out early for another Blues Flame Lounge Pre-Game Party, where they can enjoy free appetizers, live music and drink specials. Doors open at 5:15 p.m.