Monsters string together four unanswered in the third
The Rockford IceHogs fall in regulations for the first time this season when holding a lead at the second intermission. (Photo by Greg Hamil)
Rockford, Ill.- Fans at the Rockford MetroCentre got to see three games in one on Friday as the Lake Erie Monsters rolled over the Rockford IceHogs 7-4.
The Lake Erie Monsters put three on the board quickly, but the IceHogs came back to tie it at three in the second period and tacked on another for good measure to go into the second intermission with a 4-3 lead.
But the Monsters would not go down quietly. Lake Erie blew the game open with four unanswered to hand the Hogs their 9th loss in 11 games. It was the IceHogs' first regulation loss when leading after two periods this season.
Brent Kelly scored first while playing short-handed at 8:32 in the first period. Brad Richardson and Wes O'Neill had the assists. A bad bounce put the puck at the end of Richardson's stick. He passed it to Kelly and the winger finished it for his first of three markers on the night.
Then T.J. Hensick followed it up with a power-play goal just 55 seconds later. Richardson and Wyatt Smith recorded the assists.
The onslaught continued when Kelly added his second goal of the night at the 12:14 to make the score 3-0 and force staring goalie Wade Flaherty from the game.
The IceHogs kept fighting and made the score 3-1 with a power-play goal from Kris Versteeg at 14:42 in the first with helpers from Martin St. Pierre and Derek Nesbitt.
Nesbitt added a goal of his own at 16:18 with assists from St. Pierre and Jerramie Domish to make the score 3-2 at the first intermission.
Bryan Bickell put the goal in the net at 17:58 in the second with helpers from Colin Fraser and Justin Fletcher to put the Hogs up 4-3 going into the third frame.
But the Hogs kept plugging and tied the game at three with a big power-play goal from Derek Nesbitt at 15:28 in the second. Jim Fahey and St. Pierre were credited with the assists.
But the Monsters came out of the locker room with a vengeance. Smith scored his eighth and ninth of the season at 3:19 and 10:57 in the third to put Lake Erie up for good. Then Eric Healey scored his 14th goal of the campaign at 11:37. Kelly tacked on the Monsters seventh goal for a hat trick on a short-handed empty net at 19:05 to seal it.
Home fans got their first look at netminder Mike Brodeur at the MetroCentre. The young goalie had played in two games, but both were away from the Big Orange Box.
Brodeur took the loss in relief, stopping 19 of the 22 shots thrown at him in 45:49 of hockey time. Flaherty left at 12:14 of the first after stopping 6 of 9 shots. Lake Erie's Mike Wall had 25 saves.
Next Home Game: Saturday, March 1 vs. Providence Bruins. The top team in the AHL rolls into Rockford for their second and final game against the Rockford IceHogs. Game time is 7:05 p.m. At the game, Maplecrest Construction welcomes Emily Osment, who plays “Lilly” on Disney’s Hannah Montana. The teen star will be available for autographs from 5:30-8 p.m. and is presented in part by Dunkin Donuts, Pepsi and Bob FM 95.3. Also, the first 1,000 fans through the door will get a Hammer Piggy Bank courtesy of OSF’s Department of Sports Medicine.