Rookie winger chips in two goals in the win
Grand Rapids, Mich.- The penalty shot/shootout has troubled the Rockford IceHogs all season. Rockford got one back, however, on Saturday and it helped them slip by the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-2 at Van Andel Arena.
Tied late in the third period, rookie winger Akim Aliu was brought down on a breakaway in the Griffins zone creating the penalty shot opportunity. The rookie winger beat Grand Rapids goalie Thomas McCollum five-hole at 17:25 for his second goal of the night and the eventual game winner.
Both McCollum and IceHogs puck stopper Joe Fallon were solid in goal on Saturday, but it was Fallon out-dueling his counterpart with 31 saves helping the IceHogs to a series sweep at Van Andel Arena in 2009-10. Rockford went 4-0-0-0 there and are now 5-0-0-1 against the Griffins this season. Five of the six games have been decided by one goal.
Rob Klinkhammer put Rockford up 1-0 when he knocked in a rebound off a Danny Bois deflection and past McCollum at 8:59 of the opening period. Richard Petiot was also given an assist as his slapshot from the point started the sequence.
The Griffins evened the score while shorthanded with less than five seconds remaining in the first period. Logan Pyett picked up a turnover in front of the Rockford goal and shoved his seventh goal of the season past Fallon at 19:55.
Aliu put Rockford back on top in the second period. Aliu slapped home a Bryan Bickell rebound at 5:22 for his ninth goal of the season, also assisted by Brian Connelly.
The game was tied late in the third when Jan Mursak finished a transition rush deflecting in an Andy Delmore pass at 15:53. Patrick Rissmiller started the rush and chipped in an assist as well on the marker.
Power plays again were a nonfactor as Rockford had just one opportunity and Grand Rapids two, with neither team converting a chance on the advantage.
Next Home Game: Feb. 3 vs. Grand Rapids Griffins, 7:05 p.m. The first 1,000 fans 21-and over will receive an IceHogs glass mug courtesy of Bud Light. All high school and college students with a valid student ID can purchase the best available seat for just $10 at the MetroCentre's Box Office up to one hour prior to the game with the WXRX Student Rush program.