By Jon Fromi
It took regulation, overtime and seven rounds of a shootout, but the Rockford IceHogs completed two weekend victories with a 2-1 shootout win over the visiting Lake Erie Monsters. Brad Mills’ successful attempt past Calvin Pickard provided the winning margin after Carter Hutton stopped Carl Stollery to end the contest.
It really was a battle of opposing net-minders, with Hutton making 35 saves on 36 Lake Erie attempts. Hutton was named the game’s first star.
Pickard stopped 40 of the 41 shots he faced, the lone goal coming via a Kyle Beach power play goal in the final minute of the first period. The tally, which was assisted by Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin, tied the score at a goal apiece following Paul Carey’s goal midway through the first.
Both teams had a slew of scoring chances throughout the last 40 minutes, though what many folks will be talking about was what happened in the second intermission.
This season, the IceHogs have introduced a third Zamboni, sponsored by Butitta Brothers Automotive, which treats fans who pay for the privilege a cruise around the ice between periods. As the service Zambonis were resurfacing the ice midway through the intermission, the passenger Zamboni came to a stop on the right faceoff circle of the Rockford zone.
The arena staff brought out a can of whatever a Zamboni runs on to no avail. They lowered what appeared to be a battery charger from the catwalk, but still no movement. One of the other Zambonis attempted to tow it’s comrade off the ice but it wouldn’t budge.
By this time, the start of the third period had been delayed several minutes. The players, who were waiting in the tunnel, were sent back to their respective dressing rooms. At this point, the fans who had been sitting on a stalled out Zamboni were being readied for evacuation. Fans roared as Beach, Pirri, Brandon Svendsen and Ben Youds came onto the BMO Center ice and assisted the fans off the playing surface.
After the game had been delayed for about 20 minutes, someone came out with must have been a full canister of propellant. This time the Zamboni came to life and made its way off the ice.
To summarize, the game was delayed because the Zamboni ran out of gas. A Zamboni sponsored by an automotive shop to boot.
Fortunately, Rockford’s skaters still had something in the tank and were able to outlast the Monsters for the fourth time this season. Matched with a 7-2 win over Abbotsford Saturday night, Rockford pulled to within a game of the .500 mark and kept some hope of climbing back into contention for a playoff spot.