Prior to the game, Rockford was 0-8-1-0 in its last nine games at Wells Fargo Arena. Their power-play was also abysmal, 0- 15 in as many tries. However, that would change when Ivan Nalimov and Hunter Jones were between the posts for their teams.
The first period saw a resumption of last night’s disjointed play, but not before veteran Cody McLeod scored his second goal of the year. He slid the puck away from Nalimov to give the Wild a 1-0 lead.
The other goals were lacking, but that’s not disappointing given the level of form. Mitchell Fossier tangled with an Iowa defender, and both received minor penalties. After the whistle, a rude action took place where Evan Barratt punched Connor Dewar, causing several scuffles. Will’s Bitten of the Wilds received a 17-minute penalty, which led to a Hogs power play.
Iowa also had a couple of power play chances. However, the first period ended with more penalty minutes than shots, 17-8 in favor of the home team. The two teams played a combined 40 minutes of offense.
The middle of the frame belonged to the IceHogs until the last 30 seconds of the game. In fact, the period started with the Iowa Interceptor Hogs ahead 6-1. DJ Busdeker set the visitors on their way to victory, with Dylan McLaughlin scoring for the fourth consecutive game.
Rockford continued to keep the pressure on and took the lead with 15:51 remaining in the race. Carson Gickiewicz got his first point in the pros and in the AHL when he teamed up with Cole Moberg to provide the assist on Dmitry Osipov’s bomb that hit the crossbar and the goalie and went in for the 2-1 lead.
Congratulations to Carson Gicevic, who finished 13th. The Ice Hog scored his first point for the pros/Northern Americans in his first two pro games of the year! pic.twitter.com/TPaH0oBbyE
– Rockford Icebreaker (@goicehogs) 25. April 2021
As mentioned, the last half minute was crucial and they cashed in. When Gabriel Dumont came up the ice, he missed a shot that Nalimov reacted to and fell. Dumont quickly recovered and scored on a high shot just before the end of the period to bring the game to 2-2.
Rockford took the lead in the final period, but not without a battle with the Wilds. Four minutes later, McLaughlin and Basdecker combined for their second goal of the night, when they grabbed a rebound from the far circle after what appeared to be a wrap-around action to make it 3-2.
Later in the frame, Andrew Altybarmakian made McLeod bite on a return penalty that cost Iowa dearly, and the Pigs made them pay for it. McLaughlin scored his third of the night when he scored on the power play with assists from Cody Franson and McKenzie Entwistle to extend the visitors’ lead to 4-2.
Iowa answered in a flash when Connor Dewar scored on a rebound from Nalimov to bring the Wild within one point. For the rest of the match, Nalimov held his ground. With less than a minute to play and Iowa’s goal empty, Garrett Mitchell made the final score 5-3. It was Mitchell’s second goal in as many games and his third of the year.
Despite not getting hit, the Ice Hogs took the opportunity to score two points. Rockford also didn’t hesitate to stick his nose in the dirt for the second consecutive time when the time was right. Iowa, on the other hand, went a miserable 0-6, continuing their statistical reputation as the most popular team in the AHL.
The Blackhawks’ next opponent in the AHL is the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday night. Puck drop from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT.
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