Rockford Report: IceHogs nab upset over first-place Milwaukee

The Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate is trying to finish strong despite being out of the playoff picture.

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.