IceHogs rookie William Pelletier joined the team for Friday night’s game against Texas but had his coming out party for the home fans on Saturday night. The former Norwich star fueled Rockford (23-34-9-3) to a 4-1 victory with two goals on four points against the division-leading Grand Rapids Griffins (43-20-1-4) at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
Pelletier, 24, signed an ATO with the IceHogs after finishing his senior year at Division III Norwich. He was a big scorer there, including 18 goals and 28 assists in 23 games during his final season.
In Period 1, the IceHogs’ recent improved play continued when Kyle Baun opened the scoring at 8:31 with his 14th goal of the season. Pelletier received an assist on the play for his first professional point. Pelletier made it two points in his second game with his first goal at the 11:20 mark and a 2-0 lead for the home team going to the second.
The middle period began with Grand Rapids cutting the Rockford lead in half when a backhand shot in close from Colin Campbell beat Hogs goalie Jeff Glass just past half way through the period. Pelletier made it 3-1 with his second goal three minutes later as the rookie’s productive night continued. Rockford added another tally with three and a half minutes remaining in period two when Luke Johnson found the back of the net for a 4-1 IceHogs advantage.
Better possession and entry into the attacking zone aided Rockford in improved scoring chances for the home skaters. Griffin netminder Eddie Pasquale had just shut out the IceHogs a week ago. To the delight of the near-capacity crowd, Rockford held on for their second straight win and a 4-1 victory. Pelletier’s second-period goal was the game-winner while Glass stopped 35 of 36 Griffin shots on goal. IceHogs winger Brandon Mashinter added three assists.
For the second straight week the IceHogs travel to Des Moines, Iowa, to face the Wild in a weeknight matchup on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the first of three straight road games. Two home games remain for Rockford: April 12 against Milwaukee and April 15 in the season finale against Iowa.