One night after picking up a huge 7-3 victory over the Chicago Wolves in their regular season home finale, the Rockford IceHogs hit the road, again set out to keep their AHL postseason bid alive in a crucial divisional matchup with the 8th place Milwaukee Admirals.
Rockford came into Saturday’s contest in 9th place in the Western Conference, tied at 81 in points with Milwaukee, though the Admirals hold two games in hand over the IceHogs heading into the final week of the regular season.
On the heels of Brandon Pirri’s franchise record 6-point (1 goal, 5 assists) night and Ben Smith’s hat-trick in the win over the Wolves, the IceHogs had to beat the Admirals on Saturday if they had any hopes of sneaking into the postseason.
Backed by a 20 save performance by Carter Hutton and goals by Adam Clendening, Ben Smith and Klas Dahlbeck, Rockford did just that, defeating the Admirals 3-1 on Saturday before a crowd of 8,895 fans at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee. Read more »
Video highlights from Rockford’s 2-1 Overtime victory in Milwaukee on Saturday night. Video runs 1:15.
See the great individual effort by Brandon Saad to win the game in overtime, as well as the feed Jeremy Morin received from Adam Clendening to tie the game with 3:28 remaining in regulation. It was Morin’s 13th goal and that was also assisted by Saad. In two games on the weekend, Brandon Saad posted two goals and four assists, besting his point total in the previous fifteen games (1g 4a) by one.
Once night removed from a 6-1 clobbering at the hands of the Chicago Wolves in their first preseason game, the Rockford IceHogs returned home to clip the Milwaukee Admirals 3-2 in a shootout victory.
In the end, the three deciding IceHogs’ goals all came off sticks of players who played or finished last season with the Blackhawks.
Carter Hutton started the game for Rockford and gave up a deflating goal against to Milwaukee’s Jani Lajunen at 7:30 of the period. The goal defined the first period for the IceHogs. Lajunen picked up a puck along the goal line to Hutton’s left and tossed a weak backhand attempt toward the Rockford goaltender. Hutton was a couple feet off the post and was caught off guard by the shot, which hit him in the left pad and trickled over the goal line to give the Admirals the early lead.
The period as a whole was largely forgettable for the IceHogs. With 11 players seeing their first game action of the preseason, nearly everyone seemed sluggish and the team was out of synch.
With four and a half minutes left in the first period, Daniel Bang (apparently pronounced “Bong” So, Dan Bong-banged in the rebound. Okay, I’m done.) scored a power play tally for Milwaukee when he picked up a rebound and beat Hutton to give the Admirals a 2-0 lead. A hooking penalty to Brandon Pirri had sent Milwaukee to the power play. Marcus Kruger and Jimmy Hayes were sent out kill the first portion of Pirri’s penalty. But the trouble began when Kruger was kicked out of the circle on the defensive zone draw. Hayes then came in and lost the draw, pinning Rockford against it in their own zone. Read more »