Rockford, Ill. – It took a seven-round shootout to decide a winner Sunday evening at the BMO Harris Bank Center with the Rockford IceHogs coming out on top 2-1 over the Lake Erie Monsters.
The squads swapped goals during the first period; however it was goaltending that kept each team in the game the rest of the way.
The Monsters capitalized while on the power play at 10:16 of the opening frame. On a 2-on-1 breakaway, Geoff Walker’s shot was kicked away by Carter Hutton, but left the IceHogs goaltender out of position, allowing Paul Carey to poke the puck into the back of the net for the 1-0 Lake Erie lead.
Then Rockford came back with a power-play goal of their own courtesy of Kyle Beach. With just 50 seconds remaining in the first period and in the midst of the Hogs’ first man-advantage opportunity, Brandon Pirri found Beach on the doorstep to swipe the puck past Lake Erie goaltender Calvin Pickard to knot the score at 1-1.
After blank second and third periods, the contest went to overtime with Hutton making seven critical saves to send the tilt to the shootout.
Terry Broadhurst and Brandon Pirri tallied to start the shootout, however Markus Lauridsen and Gary Steffes sent it past five rounds. In the seventh round, Brad Mills connected while Hutton stuffed Karl Stollery to give Rockford the extra point in the 2-1 victory.
The Hogs capitalized on one of five power play opportunities and the penalty kill unit killed two of three Lake Erie man-advantages. Hutton finished with 35 saves, while Pickard stopped 40 IceHogs shots. With the win, the Hogs finished the season series 4-0-0-0 over the Monsters, completing their first sweep over an opponent since the 2009-10 season against Hamilton.