12/02/2015 10:40 PM
Article By: Bob Mills
Cedar Park, Tex. – A back-and-forth contest between the Rockford IceHogs (13-5-1-2) and Texas Stars (12-8-1-1) needed extra time to decide the winner, and Dennis Rasmussen stepped up for the Hogs as he talled his seventh goal of the season with a power play strike from the right circle to boost Rockford to a 6-5 win over the hometown Stars.
On a power play, Erik Gustafsson slid a pass to Rasmussen 3:03 into the overtime session to lead to the game-winning tally, and the fourth point (1g-3a) of the game for the Rockford defenseman. The duo have been two of Rockford's hottest scorers as of late as both extended personal point streaks. With four more points, Gustafsson's streak stands at five straight games with a point (2g-6a) while Rasmussen shows points in four-straight (3g-2a). Forwards Bryan Bickell (1g-1a), Jake Dowell (2a), and Vince Hinostroza (2a) also recorded multi-point efforts in the game.
Ryan Hartman opened up the scoring at 7:50 of the first frame. Vince Hinostroza dropped a pass to Gustafsson at the blue line, and Gustafsson fired a pass to Hartman at the top of the crease for a quick tap-in strike as the IceHogs grabbed a 1-0 lead.
Texas answerd back 1:10 later when Travis Morin finished off a brilliant passing play. Brendan Ranford took the puck into the zone, completed a give-and-go with Morin, fed a pass to Devin Shore, and Shore located Morin on the near post to even the score at 1-1.
The Stars grabbed the lead just two minutes after tying the game when Radek Faksa collected a bouncing puck at the top of the left circle and drove a slap shot off the stick of Remi Elie through traffic and between the pads of Michael Leighton to take a 2-1 lead into the second frame.
Rockford used an early period power play to even the score at 2-2. Jeremy Morin gained the attacking zone and popped a pass to Bryan Bickell, and the IceHogs forward whipped a wrister into the top left corner of the cage at 3:02 of the second.
Garret Ross gave Rockford their second lead of the game 1:44 later. Jake Dowell forced a turnover in the neutral zone, and Ross raced in along the right wing before firing the puck under the glove of Campbell to put the IceHogs in front 3-2.
The second power play of the game for the Stars yielded dividends. A failed clearance by Rockford saw Travis Morin steal the puck in front of the net and fire a pass off of Greg Rallo and into the cage as the Stars tied the contest at 3-3 at 6:48 of the frame.
The see-saw battled continued when Texas earned their second lead of the night at 16:06 of the second. Julius Honka took the puck into the attacking zone and ripped a shot that deflected off a Rockford player and just underneath the crossbar, pushing the Stars in front by a 4-3 score.
Rockford answered when Hartman posted his second of the night with 1:03 to go in the period. He controlled a bouncing puck in the right corner and rolled a shot off the skate of Campbell and into the net.
Gustafsson snapped the 4-4 draw with 6:02 to go in regulation. Hartman got to the loose puck after a faceoff win from Dowell and left it for Gustafsson at the left point, and the Swedish defenseman blasted a shot just inside the shortside post to give Rockford the lead.
As the theme of the game dictated, the lead did not last long. Just 1:49 after the Gustafsson stirke, Justin Dowling bounced a pass off the side of the net and Curtis McKenzie one-timed it into the top right corner to force overtime.
The IceHogs had to kill off 56 seconds of power play time to begin overtime before earning a man-advantage chance of their own, leading to Rasmussen's game-winning goal.
Next Home Game: Friday, Dec. 11 vs. Iowa Wild at 7 p.m. Rockford returns home after a five-game road trip to battle the Iowa Wild. The first 1,000 fans 21-and-older will receive an IceHogs Beer Stein courtesy of Bud Light. Doors will open at 5:15 p.m. for a Blues Flame Lounge Friday. Fans 21-and-older are invited to enjoy live blues music, a happy hour special, and free appetizers at the Blue Flame Lounge on the main concourse.