Rockford gives up four goals in final 4:33 in 5-2 loss
Hamilton, Ont.- Up 2-1 with less than five-minutes left in regulation, the ceiling came crashing down on the Rockford IceHogs. The IceHogs gave up three goals in a 38-second stretch late in the third period and then an empty netter in a 5-2 loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum.
The onslaught started with a fluke goal by the Bulldogs. Recently acquired Blake Geoffrion sent a shot from the left point in towards the Rockford goal that was destined for the corner with the Bulldogs changing lines. The puck, however, deflected off of IceHogs defenseman Ben Youds’ leg standing in front of the IceHogs goal and past Alexander Salak at 15:27 to tie the game at 2-2.
Off the ensuing faceoff, Rockford’s Rob Flick turned the puck over to Ian Schultz and on the rush the winger’s pass deflected off of the skate of Gabrial Dumont and past Salak at 15:49 to put the Bulldogs on top. A frustrated Salak took an unsportsmanlike penalty to put Hamilton on the power play as he felt Dumont kicked the puck in.
Then 16-seconds later Garrett Stafford wrapped his sixth goal of the season around the IceHogs goal and past a tardy Salak at 16:05 to put the IceHogs down 4-2. Phil DeSimone put the game out of reach with an empty netter at 19:14 to complete the IceHogs collapse.
Rockford team captain Brandon Segal had been stuck in a goal scoring drought heading into Saturday’s game, but put an end to that with an odd angle goal in the first. Flick’s initial shot was turned away by Nathan Lawson, but Segal was standing behind the Bulldogs goal and the winger banked home his 13th goal of the season off of Lawson’s pad and in at 10:43.
Hamilton responded at 12:19 after a breakdown in front of the IceHogs net. Juuso Nattinen cleaned up a loose puck for his fifth goal of the season and third in his last two games, to tie the games 1-1.
Another IceHogs skater broke out of a scoring slump in the second period. Center Brandon Pirri snapped a six-game scoreless skid when he sniped a Ben Smith pass over the shoulder of Lawson at 15:41 for his team-leading 20th goal of the season.
Rockford was outshot 39-29 in the game, including 11-5 in the third period in the loss.
Next Home Game: Saturday, Feb. 25 vs. Milwaukee Admirals. Game time is slated for 7:05 p.m. Rockford returns home to face the Admirals at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The first 1,500 fans to the game will receive an IceHogs Sock Monkey courtesy of BMO Harris Bank. Don’t forget to follow the IceHogs on Twitter (@goicehogs) and Facebook.
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”