By Chris Block
A fluke Adam Clendening skate blowout and another case of mindless minor penalties made all the difference on Sunday night as the Rockford IceHogs suffered their 8th regulation loss in 15 games (6-8-0-1), falling to the Houston Aeros 3-2.
On the positive side, the IceHogs’ power play snapped out of its 0 for 15 funk in going 2 for 4 on the night. Ben Smith and Adam Clendening, making up for his ill-timed clumsiness less than a minute earlier, tallied Rockford’s goals with the man advantage.
The game was played before a crowd of 11,175 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Houston is the American Hockey League affiliate of the Minnesota Wild. Sunday served as a home game for the Aeros.
Carter Hutton was good, stopping 18 of the 21 shots he faced, but he almost had no chance to stop Johan Larsson’s goal after Clendening blew a tire out next to Hutton’s net and left a puck out in the low slot for Larsson to bang home, giving Houston the decisive 3-1 advantage with 9:59 remaining in the third period.