Collin Delia made 34 saves for his fourth career AHL shutout, and the Rockford IceHogs defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-0 on Friday at BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford.
It’s the third shutout this year for Delia, who made 34 saves in a 2-0 win at Chicago Wolves (Golden Knights) on Jan. 19 and 28 saves in a 1-0 home victory against the San Antonio Rampage (Blues) on Feb. 21. He’s the first Rockford goaltender to have three shutouts in one season since Michael Leighton in 2015-16.
Dylan Sikura had a goal and an assist to end a six-game scoring drought and T.J. Brennan had two assists for Rockford (29-29-1-2), which has won three of its past four games.
Pat Nagle made 25 saves for the Griffins (27-27-3-4), who have lost five of its past six after a four-game win streak. Matt Puempel and Givani Smith each had a team-high four shots.
Grand Rapids and Rockford are tied at 61 points and in a Calder Cup playoffs spot. The Griffins holding the tiebreaker for third place in the Central Division.
Garrett Mitchell banked a backhanded pass off the boards to MacKenzie Entwistle, who snapped a shot from the left face-off circle for his 10th goal this season to make it 1-0 at 9:47 of the first period.
Alexandre Fortin made it 2-0 at 1:50 of the second period when he took a Joni Tuulola stretch pass into Grand Rapids’ zone then tucked the puck past Nagle’s right skate.
Brennan’s stretch pass set up a 2-on-1 breakaway for Philipp Kurashev, who sent a pass across the slot to Sikura to make it 3-0 at 12:47 of the second. Sikura is tied with his older brother, Tyler, for the team lead with 14 goals in 18 fewer games.
Sikura skated from the goal line to the point then sent a pass to the top of the right circle for Gabriel Gagne, who blasted a shot on the power play past Nagle’s glove side at 16:05 for the 4-0 final. Rockford had gone 0-for-25 in their past seven games on the power play.
The IceHogs and Griffins play the second half of the home-and-home at 6 p.m. Saturday at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan.