SPECIAL TEAMS LEAD ROCKFORD OVER HEAT

By: Mike Peck
Photo by Jim Orlando
Hogs escape with a 4-3 shootout win

Abbotsford, BC-What a difference a few days make. Just four days after picking up the pieces because of poor special teams play, the Rockford IceHogs finish off a two-game sweep in Abbotsford over the Heat because of those same units.

Rockford netted three power-play goals and held the Heat to 1-7 on the advantage while knocking them off 4-2 in a shootout at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre. Rockford finished the weekend 5-11 on the power play while holding the Heat to 1-12.

Down 3-2 in the third period, Ryan Potulny tied the game with Rockford’s third power-play goal of the night at 7:02. Igor Makarov found Potunly all alone in front of Matt Keetley and he potted his second goal of the season.

In overtime, Rockford failed to convert on another power play chance and Alec Richards denied Carter Bancks on a short-handed breakaway to force a shootout where Rockford outscored the Heat 3-2.

Matt Keith (round one) and Bryan Cameron (round two) beat Richards, but Jeremy Morin (round one), Ivan Vishnevskiy (round four) and Brandon Pirri (round five) got to Keetley for the extra standings point.

Saturday’s contest featured a scoreless first period.  Abbotsford outshot Rockford 8-5 in the opening frame, but both Richards and Keetley turned away all the shots fired their way.

Rockford capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play in the second period to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Brian Connelly found Morin on the left face-off circle and the rookie winger beat Keetley under the right pad for his third goal of the season at 4:17.  All three of Morin’s goals have come on the power play.

Abbotsford responded with three goals in less than a minute after Richards held them off the board for 92:13. John Armstrong broke the Heat drought when he flipped in a Bancks pass over the shoulder of Richards at 12:14 of the second period.

Just :12 later Keith redirected a Keith Seabrook slap shot off of a Cameron face-off win past Richards for his team-leading third goal of the season. Seabrook finished off the barrage at 13:05 while the Heat skated on a 5-on-3 power play, blasting his first goal of the season past Richards through traffic. 

The IceHogs got one back, however, with another power play marker. Jeff Taffe deflected a Vishnevskiy pass behind Keetley for his third goal of the campaign at 19:07.

Rockford was outshot 32-21 on the night, but Richards was stout in net turning away 29 shots. Keetley made his first start of the season and took the shootout loss after making 18 saves.

Next Home Game:  Friday, Oct. 22 vs. Abbotsford Heat. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The first 1,000 fans into the building will pick up an IceHogs Poster #1 in a series of six, compliments of Comcast, Q98.5 and Medicine Man.



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