The IceHogs were able to salvage a split and grab two points over the weekend. The Hogs traveled to the Bradley Center in Milwaukee for another meeting with the Admirals. Are the Admirals the only team in the AHL? Just like in their game on Wednesday the Admirals were able to jump out to an early lead. Jani Lajunen tipped a Charles-Olivier Roussel point shot past goalie Carter Hutton for his first goal of the season at 2:29.
Brandon Bollig was able to tie the game up, while on the power play, at 8:33. Bollig tipped Adam Clendening's shot from the point but Milwaukee goalie Jeremy Smith was able to make the save. Bollig was able to slip the rebound past Smith for his 3rd goal of the year.
The two teams remained tied going into the 3rd period, despite Milwaukee's 19 shots on goal in the middle frame. Hutton stood tall and made all 19 saves. Bad luck doomed the IceHogs at the 9:50 mark of the final period when Taylor Beck's pass from the right wing in the Rockford zone deflected off of Wade Brookbank's stick and past Hutton for his 5th goal of the season. The Hogs could not get any of their 14 3rd period shots past Smith to tie up the game. Hutton was impressive in the loss, stopping 36 of the 38 shots he saw.
The Hogs returned home to the BMO Harris Bank Center last night for Stan Mikita night and their first look at the Abbotsford Heat, the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames. Krys Kolanos scored a pair of goals in the 1st period, his 6th and 7th on the year, to give the Heat a 2-0. The Hogs were able to grab some momentum late in the 1st period when Ben Smith scored his 12th goal of the season. Carter Hutton started the play by passing to Nick Leddy who found Smith streaking into the Abbotsford zone. Smith found the puck and finished upstairs, over Heat goalie Danny Taylor's left shoulder to bring the score to 2-1.
The score remained 2-1 going into the 3rd period. The numbers were stacked against the Hogs going into the final frame. Abbotsford had only been giving up a league best 2.07 goals per game and Taylor had a goals against average of 1.93. Despite these trends the IceHogs were able to mount the 3rd period comeback. Marcus Kruger hit Nick Leddy, who skated through the middle of the Abbotsford defensive zone and tied the game with his third goal of the year at the 7:33 mark. Brandon Pirri scored the game winning goal, his 10th, at the 12:09 mark. The play was started when Brandon Saad got the puck out from behind the Heat's net to Brett Lebda, who found Pirri in front of the net.
The loss was the third straight for Abbotsford, all against teams from the very tight Midwest Division. Carter Hutton made 31 saves for his 11th win of the season. The IceHogs return to action on Thursday night as the host the hated Chicago Wolves at 7:05.