Photo by Greg Hamil
Rockford, Ill. – An offensive surge and effective special teams helped the Rockford IceHogs win 7-2 over the visiting Abbotsford Heat at the BMO Harris Bank Center on Saturday night.
Rockford tallied five of their seven goals within a 10-minute span during the first period on the AHL’s stingiest goaltender in Barry Brust.
The Hogs scoring frenzy began at the 6:03 mark of the first period with Kyle Beach in possession of the puck behind the Heat net. The winger found Kenndal McArdle crashing the net, who put home his second goal of the season as he was tripped up, giving Rockford the 1-0 lead.
Just two minutes later, Brandon Pirri bumped the lead up to 2-0 while on the power play. Brust kicked away Pirri’s first shot, but the forward was relentless and backhanded his own rebound into the open net to give Rockford the 2-0 advantage. Adam Clendening added his team-leading 23rd assist on the play while Terry Broadhurst recorded his fourth helper on the campaign.
At the 12:12 mark, Martin St. Pierre added to the Hogs lead. Broadhurst found the IceHogs captain open at the right faceoff circle who snapped a wrist shot over Brust’s right shoulder for his team-best 17th goal of the season.
A minute and a half later and back on their third power play of the period, Clendening got in on the scoring as he one-timed a Ben Youds pass from the blueline through traffic and past Brust. Jimmy Hayes also helped on the play.
The flurry ceased at the 15:40 mark of the opening period with Rockford shorthanded. Jeremy Morin and Shawn Lalonde perfected a 2-on-1 break that began in the Rockford zone as Lalonde connected on his fourth goal of the campaign to give the Hogs the 5-0 lead.
Abbotsford figured out Rockford goaltender Carter Hutton midway through the second frame with the IceHogs on the penalty kill. Tyler Ruegsegger found Ben Walter open in the slot who slipped it past Hutton to bring the score to 5-1.
Rockford got the tally right back on their fifth power play of the evening. Brad Mills dished the puck to Pirri in the high slot, who sniped his second goal of the evening over Brust's right shoulder. Morin also assisted on the goal, marking his second point of the night.
Abbotsford's Krys Kolanos tallied the Heat's second goal just 55 seconds into the third period on a pass from Walter. Ryan Howse was credited with the secondary assist.
David Gilbert capped the scoring for the IceHogs at the 11:20 mark of the final frame as his centering pass from behind the net deflected off the skate of Brust and trickled over the goal line, giving Gilbert his first goal of the season and the game its ultimate 7-2 final.
The Hogs out-shot the Heat 38-23 and converted on three of eight man-advantages on the night, dropping Abbotsford out of the top spot in the league's penalty kill rankings. Four of Rockford's six goals came from each of the special teams units.
Hutton stopped 21 Abbotsford shots on the evening and earned his 17th win on the campaign.
Next Home Game: Sunday, Feb. 17 vs. Lake Erie Monsters. Puck drop is set for 5:05 p.m. The first 1,000 kids (14 and under) into the building will get a Hammy toothbrush holder bobblehead compliments of Riverside Dental. Bring your ice skates to the game as it’s the last “Skate with the Hogs” of the season. Fans will be invited onto the BMO Harris Bank Center ice following the game to skate with the team.