Rockford, Ill. - The Rockford IceHogs almost let a win slip away, but came back to beat the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
With the IceHogs up 2-1 late in the game, Grand Rapids pulled Jordan Pearce in favor of the extra attacker, and Joakim Andersson made it work in the Griffins favor. A Francis Pare shot got knocked down in front of the IceHogs net, Andersson found the loose puck and sent it to the back of the net to tie the game at 2-2 at 19:13 in the final period.
Grand Rapids had a chance to win the game in overtime as they finished the extra session on a 4-on-3 advantage, but the IceHogs held strong to send the game to a shootout.
In the shootout Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin and Brandon Segal tallied for the IceHogs while Carter Hutton denied 4-of-6 Griffins’ shooters to lift Rockford to a 3-2 win.
The Griffins got on the board first with a power play tally from Gustav Nyquist. Hutton kicked aside a Brendan Smith shot, but Nyquist picked up the rebound and sent it to the back of the net at 8:38 in the opening frame to give the Griffins an early 1-0 advantage.
Rostislav Olesz made it a 1-1 game at 4:50 of the second period. Jimmy Hayes drove to the net and fired a shot that Pearce blocked down, but Olesz picked up the loose puck and ripped his fifth goal of the season to tie the game.
Then, with less than a minute left, Shawn Lalonde blasted a shot from the blue line that found the back of the net, giving the IceHogs a 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission. Morin and Pirri factored in with assists on the play.
Hutton earned his second straight win turning away 41 chances while Pearce was handed the loss, stopping 29-of-31 shots.
Rockford’s power play was held off the board in five opportunities, and the Griffins converted on one of their five chances.
Next Home Game: Friday, Dec. 16 vs. Peoria. The Rivermen return to the BMO Harris Bank Center for a Illinois Lottery Cup matchup. The first 1,500 fans (21 and older) into the building will receive an IceHogs pitcher, courtesy of Applebee’s.
For every goal that the Rockford IceHogs score in 2011-12, IceHogs head coach Ted Dent will make a donation to children’s cancer research. BMO Harris Bank will also make a donation for every goal to the “BMO Harris Bank Goals For Grades”