04/03/2011 8:00 AM
Article By: Mike PeckRockford now 3-1-0-0 on five-game road trip
Cedar Park, Tex.-A team never wants to be on the wrong end of a lopsided contest, but the good news for the Rockford IceHogs is that they’ve bounced back from those games. Rockford knocked out the Texas Stars 5-1 on Sunday at Cedar Park Center two nights after falling 7-0 in Oklahoma City.
Hannu Toivonen made 30 saves to earn the win and Rockford is now 5-1-1-1 in the game following a loss of four or more goals.
After a Texas icing in the first period, Rockford would capitalize on the ensuing faceoff. Ben Smith found Peter LeBlanc, who won the draw, on top of the left face-off circle and the rookie center snuck his 11th goal of the year past Tyler Beskorowany at 6:46 of the first frame.
Rockford grabbed the only power-play opportunity in the first period with just 8.1-seconds remaining, and made short work of the advantage. Jeff Taffe fed Brian Connelly at the left point and the d-man cranked home his tenth goal of the season with just 1.2-seconds left in the opening frame.
The second period started like the first one ended for Rockford. Taffe found Brandon Pirri streaking to the Stars blueline and hit him with a pass through the neutral zone. Pirri broke in all alone on Beskorowany and beat him under the blocker 36-seconds into the period for a 3-0 lead.
On a power-play later in the second stanza, Texas reduced Rockford’s lead back down to a pair. Aaron Gagnon crossed a pass to Travis Morin who blasted his 19th marker over the glove of Hannu Toivonen at 13:55 from the right face-off circle.
The IceHogs added to their lead in the third period and broke the game open. In a transition rush, Taffe snapped home his team-best 27th goal, set up by Rob Klinkhammer and Ryan Stanton at 5:51 of the final frame.
Smith got into the scoring act at 7:16 of the third, making it 5-1. The rookie winger redirected a Shawn Lalonde point shot past Beskorowany for his 18th tally on the season.
Rockford will complete their five-game road trip on Tuesday in San Antonio and are now 3-1-0-0 through their first four games.
Next Home Game: Friday, April 8 vs. Lake Erie Monsters: The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. Rockford returns home after a five-game, 12-day road swing to take on the Lake Erie Monsters for the sixth and final time this season. The IceHogs will be celebrating Hammy’s birthday with several area mascots as the team opens the final weekend of the 2010-11 season.