With players continuing to skate hard for both pride and their future, the Rockford IceHogs claimed a big win Saturday night at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena with a hard-fought 4-2 triumph over the Central Division-leading Milwaukee Admirals.
At the opening puck drop, starting Admirals goaltender Marek Mazanec (25-16-3) has now played the most games in the Milwaukee net in team history. The home team had the only early tally when Jack Dougherty beat Rockford starter Jeff Glass at 9:40 to take a 1-0 edge off an assist from former NHLer Mike Ribeiro. Rockford came out of the gate firing and out-shot the playoff-bound Admirals, 17-7, in the first 20 minutes.
Center Michael Latta evened the score for Rockford at 5:15 into the second period, converting on a 2-on-1 rush assisted by Matheson Iacopelli and Kyle Baun. The IceHogs struck again at 9:32 when rookie Anthony Louis knocked in his own rebound for a 2-1 Rockford advantage on his first professional goal and point. Louis had scored a game-winner in a shootout right after his signing out of college last month. Milwaukee countered just a minute and a half later when Vladislav Kamenev beat Glass to forge the 2-2 tie.
It came down to the third period knotted at 2-2. Brandon Mashinter beat Mazanec on a rebound from a Ville Pokka shot at 6:12 for a 3-2 IceHogs lead. Rockford survived a late too many men on the ice penalty and a pulled goaltender, countering with an empty-net goal by Pokka with only 39 seconds left to play. The IceHogs held the edge on shots on goal at 40-28 while the 4-2 road victory starts a new win streak for Rockford.
The spoiler role continues for the IceHogs as they complete their three-game road trip Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. down highway 94 to Rosemont to play the first-place Chicago Wolves. Three games next week, including a pair against Milwaukee, finish up the season schedule for Rockford.