Rockford, Ill.- Alec Richards capped an impressive week with a 36 save effort in leading the Rockford IceHogs to a 4-3 shootout win over the Lake Erie Monsters at the Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday.
In the shootout, Jeremy Morin's sixth round goal put Rockford ahead before Richards denied Brad Malone to preserve the victory, his and Rockford's third straight. Rockford outscored Lake Erie 3-2 in the shootout.
Rob Flick put Rockford out front in the first period on Saturday. Flick picked up his own rebound and sniped his first goal of the season under the cross bar and past Calvin Pickard at 5:06. The early goal marked the third straight game in which Rockford scored the game's first marker.
Lake Erie tied the game in the second period when Malone batted a rebound out of the air and past Richards at 4:31. The goal was assisted by Tyson Barrie.
But Rockford responded at 7:39 of the middle stanza. Andrew Shaw pulled the puck in from of Pickard from behind the goal line and knocked in his own rebound for his third goal of the season. Brandon Bollig set it up.
Lake Erie peppered Richards with 24 second period shots on goal, an IceHogs single period record. Rockford came into the contest averaging just 27.24 shots against per game, sixth lowest in the AHL.
Ben Smith tallied an insurance goal for Rockford at 13:01 of the third period. Smith picked up a Jimmy Hayes pass and drove to the Lake Erie net where he slipped his sixth goal of the season under Pickard.
But penalty troubles haunted the Hogs again. After a Nick Leddy penalty, Mike Sgarbossa shelved his seventh goal of the season over Richards at 15:18 of the third period. Then after Ryan Stanton's fourth minor penalty of the game, Sgarbossa struck again at 19:12 to force overtime, and eventually the shootout.
Lake Erie finished 2-5 on the power play while the IceHogs were 0-6. The entered the game averaging 5.9 power plays against.