Rockford’s Achilles heel, coupled with an anemic power play teamed up Saturday night as the IceHogs’ ultimate demise in a 3-1 loss to the traveling Manitoba Moose.
On a night when Rockford’s power play couldn’t muster more than one goal in eight tries, you could sense trouble brewing.
After forty-five minutes of scoreless hockey, Ben Smith finally struck the back of Manitoba’s net at 5:02 of the third period when Smith, parked on top of Manitoba netminder Eddie Lack’s crease, found an Igor Makarov assisted rebound to give Rockford a 1-0 lead. Smith’s tally came on Rockford’s seventh power play chance.
The MetroCentre crowd of 5,593 then sat stunned as Manitoba score three unanswered goals in 1 minute and 27 seconds.
Cody Hodgson kicked off the comeback when he drove wide-right on defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and roofed a snap shot over Hannu Toivonen‘s glove on the short side with 4:40 left in regulation. A weak goal allowed by Toivonen tied the game and took the air out of everyone in the building not wearing Moose sweaters. Hodgson’s 6th marker extended the former top NHL prospect’s scoring streak to 4 games (4g, 2a).
55 seconds after Hodgson evened the score, Jeff Tambellini (re-assigned here by the Canucks on Tuesday) found Toivonen’s five hole and increased the lead to 2-1. It was another goal Toivonen probably would like to have back. The defense pairing of Vishnevskiy and Shawn Lalonde were victimized on both goals.
Just 32 seconds later, Toivonen’s glove was again too slow on a Tambellini riser, increasing the lead to the eventual final 3-1 score.