Rockford, Ill.- After a tame 40 minutes of hockey, the Rockford IceHogs offense tallied three times in the third period to sink the Peoria Rivermen 4-3 in front of a sellout crowd on Saturday night at the Rockford MetroCentre.
The IceHogs got the scoring started to take a 1-0 lead at 2:48 in the first period. Rob Klinkhammer dropped off a pass for Brandon Pirri to rip a shot from above the faceoff circle. The puck hit Brian Connelly standing in front of the net and deflected past Ben Bishop to give Rockford the early advantage.
Peoria responded to tie it up at 1-1 midway through the opening frame. Derek Nesbitt fed Daryl Boyle at the point and he fired the puck in on Alec Richards. Graham Mink was positioned in front of the net and slipped the shot under Richards at 8:13 in the first period.
After a scoreless middle frame and the score still knotted at 1-1, Peoria took the lead to open the third period. Nicholas Drazenovic dished the puck to Dave Scatchard, who then wristed the puck in on net. With traffic blocking Alec Richards' view, the puck found it's way to the back of the net and gave Peoria a 2-1 advantage.
The Hogs got it right back as they converted on a 5-on-3 power play. Kyle Beach and Pirri worked the puck around to Jeff Taffe sitting in the right faceoff circle. Taffe picked up the pass and blasted it by Bishop to tie the game at 2-2.
Peoria again regained the lead as Akim Aliu finished off a sequence of nice passes. Drazenovic raced in the offesive zone and dished the puck for Aliu to one-time it past Richards at 8:12 in the third period to give Peoria a 3-2 lead. Scatchard factored in with an assist on the play.
Then, the IceHogs took advantage of a Rivermen turnover to lock the game back up at 3-3. Peter LeBlanc raced in and picked up a loose puck that was left sitting behind the Peoria net. LeBlanc took the rubber and wrapped in his 10th goal of the season to make it 3-3 at 8:46. Kyle Hagel also chipped in with an assist.
With time winding down in the game, Ivan Vishnevskiy wristed a shot in on Bishop. Bishop turned it away but Igor Makarov flipped in the rebound to light the lamp at 17:22 in the third period and give the IceHogs a 4-3 win. Connelly registered a helper on the play.
Richards picked up his 14th win of the season blocking 29 shots and Bishop was handed the loss after stopping 26 IceHogs attempts. Rockford converted on one of their three power play chances and held Peoria off the board on two tries.
Next Home Game: Wednesday, March, 23 vs. San Antonio. Puck drop is at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday is the final time fans can take advantage of Taco Bell Dollar Days as fans can enjoy dollar Vienna Beef hot dogs, Pepsi products, Bud Select drafts and companion tickets.