Photo By Greg Hamil
Smith, Morin help Rockford capture 4-1 victory
Rockford, Ill. – Despite giving up an early first period goal, the Rockford IceHogs rattled off four straight tallies on the visiting Peoria Rivermen and captured a 4-1 victory in an Illinois Lottery Cup tilt at the BMO Harris Bank Center on Friday night. The Hogs have now won six consecutive games, tying a franchise-high in the AHL era.
The Rivermen opened the scoring at the 3:07 mark when Mark Cundari’s shot from the blueline was initially stopped by Carter Hutton, but the puck trickled through the Rockford goaltender and over the goal line.
But the Hogs only let Peoria’s lead last for 5:20, as Ben Smith lit the lamp with a shot from the slot off a tape-to-tape pass from Brandon Svendsen. Mathieu Beaudoin also assisted on the play, starting the rush with a touch-pass to Svendsen in the defensive zone.
Less than four minutes later and on the power play, Smith picked up a rebound off of a Brandon Pirri shot, but Jake Allen made a pad save on Smith’s first put-back attempt. The puck came right back to Smith, and he flipped it over a sprawled out Allen, giving the Hogs the 2-1 lead with his second goal of the night and his 17th on the season.
Rockford added on another goal early into the second period. While on their third power play of the contest, Pirri’s cross-ice pass to Jeremy Morin was one-timed into the back of the net, upping the Hogs advantage to 3-1.
Later in the period, Morin tallied once again, this time on a 4-on-3 man-advantage. With possession of the puck behind the net, Morin stick handled through the barren Peoria zone and wristed a shot on net from in close that ricocheted off of Allen and into the back of the net, increasing the Hogs lead to 4-1.
Rockford’s defense and penalty kill unit held on the rest of the way, as they killed off all seven Peoria man-advantage opportunities, including four during the third period.
Hutton finished the night with 23 saves to earn his 21st win of the season, while Rockford fired 30 shots on Allen. The Hogs power-play unit finished three for six, and has now converted on power-play goals in seven consecutive games. Pirri and Morin each extended their point streaks to seven-straight games.
Next Home Game: Saturday, March 2 vs. Milwaukee Admirals. The puck hits the BMO Harris Bank Center ice at 7:05 p.m. as the IceHogs host the Milwaukee Admirals for a Midwest Division matchup. The first 1,500 fans through the turnstiles will get an IceHogs Sock Monkey thanks to BMO Harris Bank. BMO Harris Bank is also hosting a sock drive benefiting Project Undershare.