02/06/2016 9:00 PM
Article By: Bob Mills
Grand Rapids, Mich. - The Rockford IceHogs (27-11-4-4) fought back from three deficits, but it was not enough as the Grand Rapids Griffins (26-17-1-1) took their fourth-straight victory over Rockford with a 4-3 overtime victory.
Tomas Nosek provided the game-winner for Grand Rapids 59 seconds into the sudden death period. After Michael Leighton made a sprawling save on a shot from Eric Tangradi, Nosek picked up the rebound and slid it past the IceHogs goaltender to give the Griffins the extra point.
The Griffins picked up right where they left off on Friday, popping home the first goal of the game at 3:36 of the first. With a 4-on-3 power play, Martin Frk took a pass from Andy Miele and blasted a shot from just inside the left circle into the top corner of the net.
Rockford tied the game up 8:15 into the frame. After a clean faceoff win for Mark McNeill, Nick Mattson fired a wrister through traffic and in on goaltender Jared Coreau. Coreau made the initial stop, but McNeill found the rebound and tapped it home to even the score at 1-1. Mattson earned his first AHL point with the assist on the goal.
Just over two minutes later, Frk knocked home his second goal of the night. Miele found a quick opportunity in front of the net and bounced a shot off the pads of Leighton, and Frk was there to slam home the rebound and put Grand Rapids back on top. It was the fourth goal in two games for Frk.
Frk nearly completed the hat trick with only seconds remaining in the first period but a diving poke check prevented a back-door pass from Miele.
Rockford battled back in the second period, evening the score at 2-2 at 8:13. Chris DeSousa collected a loose puck in the neutral zone and led a 3-on-1 chance into the offensive end. Tanner Kero, fresh out of the penalty box, collected the rebound from DeSousa's shot and finished off the play for his 11th goal of the 2015-16 campaign.
Just 45 seconds later, the Griffins regained control as Tyler Bertuzzi stole the puck in the attacking zone and flicked a quick backhander through the pads of Leighton.
The IceHogs showed their resiliency with yet another tying goal, this one coming on the power play. P.C. Labrie made a quick pass to Marko Dano, who shoveled a pass to Ville Pokka at the blue line. Pokka's shot was deflected by Dano just inside the right post to move the game to 3-3 entering the final stanza.
Leighton finished the contest with 34 saves while the Coreau stopped 29 for the Griffins.
Next Home Game: Sunday, Feb. 14 vs. Grand Rapids Griffins at 4 p.m. Rockford faces off against Grand Rapids again on Valentine’s Day. The meeting will round up a set of three contests between the two squads in 10 nights.