The Rockford IceHogs split their weekend home games, losing 5-2 to the Milwaukee Admirals on Friday and beating the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-3 on Saturday. The slit brought their record to 7-2 with an AHL-leading 14 points.
Friday night’s game started great as Tomas Jurco and David Kampf netted first period goals. Matheson Iacopelli and Erik Gustafsson assisted on the first, with Carl Dahlstrom and Iacopelli assisting on the second.
The true turning point might have been the Emil Pettersson goal with about 1.5 second left in the first period. The IceHogs had killed half of a penalty and seemed to be heading to the locker room with a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately, Pettersson beat J.F. Berube to make it 2-1.
The Admirals netted one in the second to tie the score. The Admirals scored three in the third, including an empty netter to make it a 5-2 final score.
The IceHogs two losses have both been home losses to the Admirals. They have beaten the Admirals in Milwaukee though.
IceHogs Coach Jeremy Colliton admitted that the team might have been a bit tired, having played 5 games in 8 days. Still, he made no excuses and stated the team needed to rebound Saturday night, regardless. There is always time to rest later. After Saturday’s game, they will only have 2 games in 11 days.
Iacopelli also acknowledged the possibility of being tired, but like Coach Colliton, he stressed that the team would need to put that aside on Saturday.
Saturday night’s game against the Griffins didn’t start well. The Griffins tallied 2 goals in the first period to take a 2-0 lead. Things could have gotten ugly at this point.
The IceHogs scored 55 seconds into the 2nd period, when Matthew Highmore notched his fourth of the year. Gustafsson had the assist. The Griffins answered that goal with one of their own later in the period. The IceHogs went into the third down 3-1.
The third period was all IceHogs, as they reached the net 3 times. Gustafsson got his third of the year, assisted by Darren Raddysh and Kampf. Highmore followed that with his fifth, assisted by David Louis and Ville Pokka. Laurent Dauphin finished the scoring with his third, assisted by Vinnie Hinostroza and Pokka.
Jeff Glass allowed three goals on 20 shots, while his counterpart allowed 4 goals on 39 shots (and one empty netter). The important number there is the almost 2-1 shot advantage by the IceHogs. That edge is bound to pay dividends.
The post-game media session featured Coach Colliton, Pokka and Highmore. Those interviews can be found at Post-game Reactions 10/28.
Coach Colliton praised the rebound effort of the team (and rightly so). After Friday’s loss and the two goals against in the 1st period, it would have been easy for the already-tired IceHogs to have a letdown. Instead, they fired up.
The IceHogs next play the Monsters in Cleveland on Tuesday and the Admirals on Friday. Then they have a 5 day break before facing the Wild in Iowa.