First off, I apologize for the lateness of this write up but its been a hell of day. The IceHogs need to petition the AHL to move out of the Midwest Division. With last night's win over the Houston Aeros, the Hogs improved to 5-1 outside of their division. The IceHogs were able to hold on to a 2-1 victory despite putting the penalty kill on overdrive. The Aeros, who came in with the 3rd best power play in the AHL, were only able to score once on their nine power play opportunities.
The first period was rather uneventful to start Rockford's first ever Latino night, which included Ricky Martin and maracas. The Hogs got to go on their only power play of the contest early in the 1st, but were unable to cash in. The two teams heading into the first intermission scoreless with the IceHogs holding 9 to 5 advantage in shots on goal.
It didn't take the Hogs long to excite the home fans in the 2nd period. Kyle Beach scored his 5th goal of the year at the 54 second mark of the period to break the scoreless tie. Ryan Stanton (5) and Marcus Kruger (8) were credited with the assists on the goal. Kruger is now tied with captain Martin St. Pierre for the team lead in helpers. Ben Smith lit the lamp for the 4th time this season to extend the lead to 2-0 at 5:08. Brandon Pirri (7) and Jeremy Morin (4) assisted on the play. It was shortly after this that the door on the Rockford penalty box got one hell of a work out.
The Aeros would go on eight consecutive power plays, including a pair of two man advantages, but go only find the back of the just one time. I guess Coach Q's theory about the 5 on 3 is right. Nick Pamieri scored his 5th goal of the year, on Houston's eighth power play, at 3:38 of the 3rd period. The Hogs would kill off one more penalty in the 3rd and hold on to snap their 3 game losing streak.
A win is a win, but the IceHogs cannot continue the cavalcade of minor penalties if they want to be successful going forward. They were lucky to win, and will not win too many more games when their penalty kill unit has to work as much as it had to last night. It was good to see Carton Hutton bounce back after struggling over the last few games. The two teams will meet again tomorrow night is St Paul, MN.