Tuesday night saw a big matchup in the AHL ranks as the top two teams in the Central Division squared off with the Milwaukee Admirals taking on the Rockford IceHogs in Rockford. After falling behind early, the IceHogs used three unanswered goals in the second period to help them power past the Admirals, 5-2, and keep ahold of the top spot in the AHL Central Division.
IceHogs persevere after shaky start
It may have not been the start that the IceHogs were looking for but, the second period would prove to be too much for the Admirals to overcome in the end. After early penalties put the IceHogs on the defensive in the first, the Admirals were able to take advantage with a power-play goal eight minutes into the contest. That would be all the offense in the first as Milwaukee would take the 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Coming out for the second period, the IceHogs were not in a panic. Newcomer to the IceHogs, Matt Fraser trusted in his new teammates, “I thought we played ‘OK’ in the first period, but we corrected a few things that needed to get better and I think that showed.” Fraser added, “Good teams know how to put the puck in the net and you see the guys that are in this dressing room, and how many of them are so good at the little things that make the team successful. It is exciting to be a part of.”
Fraser would get his first goal since coming to the IceHogs in the Andrew Ladd trade, but not before the IceHogs first got on the board after a Pierre-Cedric Labrie breakaway chance was put home to tie the game. Just three minutes later, the IceHogs would get a lucky bounce off of Jake Dowell and take the lead 2-1. Fraser’s goal would come just two minutes after the Dowell bounce and the IceHogs took a fast and commanding 3-1 lead into the second intermission.
Shortly after the puck dropped for the third period, the IceHogs would lead 4-1 after Labrie’s second of the night got past Admiral’s goaltender Marek Mazenec and prove to be more than enough for the IceHogs. The Admirals would cut the lead in half with ten minutes to play in the game but that would be as close as it would get. Labrie would get the empty-net goal to not only ice the game away, but also give himself and the IceHogs the first hat-trick of the 2015-16 season.
That would be the final, 5-2, as the IceHogs would take game number 11 of 12 between the two teams and keep hold of the top spot in the AHL Central Division with 77 points through 58 games, good enough for a 0.664 points percentage. The IceHogs only trail the Ontario Reign in the AHL Western Conference. The Reign have a 0.684 points percentage through 51 games played. Rockford’s next game is slated for Saturday as they take on the Charlotte Checkers in Charlotte.
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