Rockford, Ill.- A lackluster first period put the Rockford IceHogs in a 1-0 hole just minutes into Saturday’s contest against the Houston Aeros. The IceHogs took over in the middle frame, however, outshooting Houston 16-2 and potting the game-tying goal, ultimately scoring four unanswered markers en route to a 4-1 victory at the BMO Harris Bank Center, effectively sweeping the weekend series against the Aeros.
With the game tied 1-1 in the third period, Rob Flick broke through to give Rockford their first lead of the night. Brandon Svendsen forced a turnover in the Houston zone and got the puck to Flick, who slipped it past Scott Greenham five-hole at the 6:01 mark to give the Hogs a 2-1 advantage.
Then, at the 12:31 mark of the final frame, Philippe Paradis found the back of the net to give Rockford a two-goal lead. The rookie winger ripped a slapshot from between the faceoff circles and in to make it 3-1. Flick was credited with an assist on the play and earned a Gordie Howe hat trick on the night with a goal, an assist and a fight. Svendsen also picked up his second assist of the night on Paradis’ goal.
The Aeros pulled their goalie in favor of the extra attacker with less than three minutes to go, but just seconds after Greenham left the net, Paradis put home his second goal of the night into the empty net to seal the game for Rockford.
Houston got on the board early in the opening frame with their first power-play opportunity of the night. Just 30 seconds into their man advantage, Chay Genoway and Jon DiSalvatore set up former IceHogs forward Jeff Taffe, who fired the puck over Carter Hutton’s glove and into the top right corner to give the Aeros a 1-0 lead at the 2:35 mark.
In the second period, Jeremy Morin tied the game at 1-1 with less than 30 seconds to go. Brandon Pirri carried the puck into the Aeros zone but was tied up by two Houston skaters and lost control of the puck. Morin, however, came in and rifled it up and over Greenham for his 16th goal of the season to put the IceHogs on the board.
Hutton made 17 saves in his 20th win on the campaign, while Greenham stopped 37 IceHogs shots in the loss.
Rockford could not capitalize on six man advantage opportunities on the night while Houston went 1-for-3 on the power play.
Next Home Game: Friday, March 30 vs. Peoria Rivermen. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. The IceHogs and Rivermen meet for a 12th and final time this season on Friday when they square off at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The first 1,500 fans to the game will receive an IceHogs Fitness Towel courtesy of Peak Fitness.
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”