Rockford, Ill.- A late rally by the Rockford IceHogs with seconds remaining in the third period propelled them to a 2-1 overtime victory in front of 4,117 fans, on Saturday night against the Lake Erie Monsters.
Trailing 1-0 with just over a minute left in the third period the IceHogs pulled goaltender Hannu Toivonen for the extra attacker. Skating with six men on the power play Brandon Pirri sent the puck in on John Grahame as he turned it aside. Jeremy Morin picked up the rebound and lifted the puck to the back of the net to tie the game, 1-1 at 19:46. Brian Connelly added his team leading 21 point with an assist.
Feeding off the momentum from the Morin goal, the IceHogs completed the comeback just 53-seconds into the overtime period. Peter LaBlanc answered when he moved across the crease past a diving Grahame and netted a backhand shot to give the IceHogs the win 2-1. Rob Klinkhammer and Garnet Exelby picked up assists on the goal.
Minutes into the start of the third period Lake Erie ended the scoreless bout and took the 1-0 lead. Curtis Fraser pushed the puck across the IceHogs line and just as Fraser shot a Lake Erie player cut across the crease screening Toivonen, and the puck found the back of the net at 2:29 to make it 1-0 Monsters. Patrick Bordeleau picked up an assist on the play.
Toivonen earned the overtime win after making 25 saves while Grahame was the tough-luck-loser blocking 29 Rockford shots.
NOTES: Peter LeBlanc extended his goal scoring streak to four straight games, with the overtime game winner. The IceHogs penalty kill continued their success, killing off all four shorthanded chances. Entering tonight’s play the IceHogs were 0-5-0-2 when tied after the second intermission. Goaltender Alec Richards missed tonight’s game with an undisclosed illness.
Next Home Game: Sunday, Dec. 26 vs. the Milwaukee Admirals. Game time is slated for 7:05 p.m. It’s bring your own giveaway night. Fans can exchange an unwanted Christmas gift for one brought by another fan at a table in the concourse.