Jack Skille started the Rockford rally, but the IceHogs could not complete the comeback with a loss to Iowa at the Rockford MetroCentre. (photo by Greg Hamil)
Hogs fall to 4-6-0-0 against Iowa in final meeting
Rockford, Ill.- The Rockford IceHogs found themselves down three times against the Iowa Chops on Wednesday at the Rockford MetroCentre. But their third comeback fell short, as the Chops beat Rockford 5-4.
The IceHogs were in the same place they were on Friday in Des Moines, down by two goals going into the first intermission. But the Hogs rallied back to even the score only to find themselves down 5-3 going into the third frame.
"Against Iowa, we just haven't been on our game for some reason," defenseman Danny Groulx said. "A couple of breakdowns and they get their chances and they score. Then it's too late to come back."
Iowa took the initial lead with a goal from Matt Beleskey at 5:50 in the first period. Assists went to Petri Kontiola and T.J. Trevelyan.
Beleskey picked up a loose puck off of a rebound and worked it around Antti Niemi in front of the net to give Iowa the advantage.
No Rockford skater bas been hotter than Pete MacArthur in the last couple of games. The winger put in his fifth goal in six games to tie the game at one. But then the Chops took the lead again on the next shift.
MacArthur's goal came from a feed by Tim Brent in front of the net to make it a 1-1 game at 9:27 in the first. Evan Brophey also was credited with a helper.
John de Grey solved Niemi just 28 seconds later to get Iowa's lead back. Petteri Wirtanen set him up off of a face-off win by Ajay Baines.
"We have to be more steady and play like we did against Manitoba and Milwaukee," Groulx said. "We have to play with a little bit more grit and be a little more desperate."
And Eric Boguniecki picked up a rebound and pounded it into the open net at 12:26 to give Iowa some insurance. Brennan Evans and Brian Salcido had the helpers.
In the second, Corey Crawford replaced Niemi only to find the IceHogs rally to tie the games at three. Jack Skille solved David LeNeveu 1:35 into the frame with helpers from Brophey and Bryan Bickell.
Pascal Pelletier shelved his 28th goal of the season under the crossbar just 1:26 later with helpers from Adam Hobson and Tim Hambly.
Then with Hobson in the penalty box on a hooking call, Boguniecki tipped in his second goal of the game at 7:02 with helpers from Belesky and Adrian Veideman to give Iowa the lead again.
Later in the second period Ryan Dingle worked around two defenders and put a pretty goal past Crawford at 18:32 to give the Chops the 5-3 lead. Baines assisted on the goal.
With just four seconds left in the game, Adam Pineault cut the lead in half with helpers from Jimmy Sharrow and MacArthur, but the Hogs couldn't even the score off of the following face off.
"When that goal came, I thought we had more time," Groulx said. "But it's hard to generate anything with just three second left."
Niemi finished with 11 saves in 20:00 of ice time, while Crawford took the loss with 18 saves in 38:21. LeNeveu had 26 saves in the win.
On the power play, the IceHogs were unsuccessful in one attempt, and Iowa was 1-for-1.
Next Home Game: Sunday, March 29 vs. Houston Aeros. Game time is 5:05 p.m. A quick turnaround for the IceHogs finds them back on home ice on Sunday for the final regular season contest against the Aeros. Sunday is this season’s final Sunday Fundae. Fans can also help celebrate Hammy’s Birthday with other local mascots and the first 2,000 fans to the game will receive an IceHogs 10th Anniversary Canvas courtesy of Stanley Steemer and Rasmussen College.