Big Third Period Lifts Rockford Past Monsters

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Going into the second period tied at one, the Lake Erie Monsters gave up four straight Rockford goals en route to dropping a 5-2 contest Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena to the IceHogs. The Monsters finish the season with a 1-1 record against Rockford.

“They have outscored the opposition by about 16 goals in the first period, and we came out and played a very strong first period,” said head coach Joe Sacco. “We had some chances and we did not capitalize. They took the play to us and outworked us in the second and third period. They worked extremely hard and we didn’t match their intensity. They were a more desperate team than we were tonight.”

Rockford wouldn’t wait long to open the scoring, as Evan Brophey put the IceHogs up 1-0 at the 4:12 mark of the first period with his 16th goal of the season. Coming in on a two-on-two break, Brophey dished a pass to Tim Brent before driving the center lane toward Monsters goaltender Jason Bacashihua. Brent unleashed a shot that was kicked away, but landed on the stick of a hard-charging Brophey, who deposited the rebound. Jordan Hendry picked up the secondary assist on the goal.

Before the first period would end, captain Chris Durno would tie the score at one, recording his team-leading 17th goal at the 18:13 mark of the first period on the power play. With the puck at the point, defenseman Ryan Wilson slid the puck down the half wall to Mike McLean, who finessed it on down to Durno. Standing on the goal line, Durno took a step out in front of the net before roofing a backhander over Rockford goalie Antti Niemi. The assist was Wilson’s first point as a Monster.

Going into the second tied at one, former Cleveland Lumberjack and Baron, Jeff Christian put the IceHogs up 2-1 with a goal in his first AHL game since the 2005-06 season. With the puck below the goal line, Tyler Mosienko found Christian open in the slot to Bacashihua’s left. Taking the pass from Mosienko, Christian fired a wrist shot past the glove of Bacashihua at the 14:39 mark of the middle frame to give his team the lead. Adam Pineault recorded the second assist on the goal.

Going into the third ahead by one, the IceHogs would pad their lead on Jake Dowell’s fifth goal of the season at the 2:38 mark of regulation’s final frame. Entering Monsters territory, Dowell fired a wrist shot that missed wide. Unfortunately for the Monsters, the puck took a fortuitous Rockford bounce, careening off the back wall and in the slot, right on the stick of Dowell, and then in the back of the net. Rob Klinkhammer and Mosienko assisted on the goal.

Then, eight minutes later, Klinkhammer would put Rockford up, 4-1, with his 15th tally of the year. Coming into the zone on a break, Adam Hobson threw a cross-ice pass to Klinkhammer, who ripped a wrist shot over the glove of a stretched-out Bacashihua.

Up by three, Rockford went ahead 5-1 on Pineault’s 10th goal of the season with six minutes left in the game. On a partial breakaway, Klinkhammer blazed down the right side of the ice and unleashed a slap shot that Bacashihua kicked away with his right toe. Unfortunately, the puck was kicked out into the slot, where Pineault was waiting to slam home the rebound. Mosienko recorded the secondary assist, which was his third helper on the night.

As usual, the Monsters never-say-die attitude carried into the final minutes of a four-goal contest, as the team made it a 5-2 game with two minutes left on Bryan Marshall’s sixth goal of the season. Coming into the zone on a two-on-one, J.D. Corbin, who hadn’t played in a game since December 17th due to injury, flipped a pass on the backhand over a sprawled out Rockford defender. Coming in on the play with Corbin, Marshall redirected the puck into the net just before it could touch the ice. Phil Dupuis recorded the second assist on the goal. Dupuis has now put up five assists in his past five games.

With five games remaining on the season, the Monsters travel to Milwaukee on Friday before returning home for their second-to-last game at The Q on Saturday against the Houston Aeros at 7:30 p.m.

“We are just looking to finish strong,” said Sacco. “We want to be a team that can say they played hard right up until the end, that’s important.”

Sights and Sounds
Coach Joe Sacco Interview
Quote, Unquote

"We are still battling, we are still playing, and trying to get in that last playoff spot. We have done some good things this year. The players have done some good things. The guys that have had the opportunity to be called up, have gone and contributed, and that’s important. It is disappointing that there’s a chance we won't make the playoffs. That was our goal from the beginning of the season.” - Head Coach Joe Sacco


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