Photo by Ben Hall
Rockford earns weekend split in Lake Erie
Cleveland, Ohio- No overtime was needed on Saturday night as Hannu Toivonen and the Rockford IceHogs held on to knock off the Lake Erie Monster 3-2 at the Quicken Loans Arena.
With Rockford up a goal late in period three, Lake Erie made one last attempt to tie the game when Greg Mauldin’s point shot was redirected into Toivonen who made the save as time expired. Overall, Rockford’s puck stopper made 36 total saves to earn the win.
For the second straight game rookie winger Ben Smith found the score sheet. Smith picked up a Rob Klinkhammer pass in the slot and fired home his 11th goal of the season 2:25 into the opening period to start the scoring.
Klinkhammer then extended Rockford’s lead to 2-0 in the second period while shorthanded. Kilnkhammer carried the puck over the Monsters line from the left wing and sniped his 12th marker of the season under the cross bar at 2:01.
A nice individual effort by Justin Mercier put Lake Erie on the board mid-way through the second period. Mercier outworked three IceHogs skaters in front of Toivonen and flipped in his own rebound at 10:11 for his tenth goal of the season making it 2-1 Rockford.
The Monsters outworked Rockford again in front of their own goal to tie the game later in the second frame. Mauldin’s initial shot was turned away by Toivonen but David Van der Gulik split a pair of Hogs skaters and swiped in his tenth goal of the season at 17:23.
Evan Brophey put Rockford back on top early in the third period. On a two-on-one breakaway, Brophey held the puck and picked the top corner over the right should of Jason Bacahihiua at 1:59 for his ninth lamp lighter of the year, the game winner.
Rockford held Lake Erie to 0-7 on the power play while Rockford was blanked on six chances.
Next Home Game: Sunday, March 13, vs. Chicago Wolves. Puck drop is at 4:05 p.m. It’s the IceHogs 12th Annual Jersey Auction game. The Hogs will be wearing special jerseys commemorating first responders. After the game, the jerseys will be auctioned off to fans. Also, the first 2,500 fans to the game will receive a Jersey Auction T-Shirt compliments of WXRX.