Photo by Kris Gray
Rockford, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs ended the 2012 home slate on a high note Saturday, defeating Milwaukee 4-1 in front of a sell-out crowd of 5,927 at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
After a scoreless opening frame, Rockford began applying heavy pressure on Milwaukee’s Magnus Hellberg in the second period and cashed in with two goals before the Admirals were able to respond.
Kyle Beach dished a pass to Brandon Bollig, who blasted one to the back of the net at 5:03 in the middle frame to put the Hogs out in front, 1-0.
Just after the midway point in the second period, Ben Smith extended the lead to 2-0. Smith picked up a pass from Brandon Saad and skated in on the Milwaukee net before roofing his 13th goal of the season at 11:28.
Milwaukee finally had an answer to the IceHogs pressure with 3:30 remaining in the second stanza, as Chris Mueller cashed in on a power play. Ryan Ellis whistled a shot that Carter Hutton turned away, but Mueller corralled the rebound and deposited it in the goal to bring the score to 2-1.
It didn’t take long for the IceHogs to regain a two goal advantage though as Martin St. Pierre found the back of the net at 18:49 to make it 3-1. Adam Clendening slid a pass to St. Pierre, and the IceHogs captain walked in to fire his 14th goal of the season past Hellberg.
The Hogs put the finishing touches on the victory with 40 seconds remaining when Marcus Kruger tallied an empty-net goal.
Hutton finished the night turning away 31 of the 32 shots he faced to pick up his 13th win on the campaign. Hellberg was pelted with 39 shots and the Milwaukee netminder stopped 36.
Next Home Game: Wednesday, Jan. 9 vs. Grand Rapids. Puck drop is 7:05 p.m. After four straight contests in Grand Rapids, the IceHogs and Griffins finally meet in Rockford. Wednesday is another WXRX Dollar Day as fans can take advantage of dollar beers, hot dogs, soft drinks and companion tickets.