The Rockford IceHogs (11-15-1-0) outlasted the Grand Rapids Griffins (12-9-3-1) in a neck-and-neck matchup in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
A common occurrence for the ‘Hogs recently has been scoring the first goal of the game. Monday night was no different. Evan Barratt tucked home a centering pass from Andrei Altybarmakyan with help from Chad Yetman to make it 1-0.
The score came at 9:20 and held for the remainder of the period. Goalies Matt Tomkins and Kaden Fulcher played well overall, but a lot of players experienced issues with the puck due to the ice conditions. A higher-than-normal temperature inside the arena showed its effects right off the puck drop in Grand Rapids.
The middle frame saw a late Griffins come back to tie the game. However, Rockford scored the first goal of the period at the 9:58 mark when Yetman, Barratt, and Altybarmakyan got together for the second time. This tally was credited to Yetman, and his second of the year gave the Hogs a 2-0 lead.
About three minutes later, Grand Rapids stormed back into the game. Chase Pearson tucked home his team’s first goal at the night to pull within one.
On the ensuing draw, ‘Hogs’ defenseman Dmitry Osipov was guilty of a boarding call that put the visitors shorthanded. On the man advantage, it was Pearson who found the back of the net again to tie the game at 2-2.
Despite an argument from Tomkins, Cody Franson, and the IceHogs bench for goalie interference, the officials upheld the goal that pulled the game even. As time ticked down, a few chances were had by each side, but both goalies stood tall. The game was all knotted up at 2-2 after 40 minutes of hockey.
The final 20 minutes were a defensive battle put forth by both clubs. Great saves by Tomkins and Fulcher kept the game tied at 2-2 all the way to 0:00.
In the 3-on-3 overtime period, the Griffins and IceHogs traded solid chances to end the overtime. Grand Rapids hit not one, but two posts behind Tomkins, but the iron forced this game to go into a shootout.
Grand Rapids elected to shoot first, but Dominic Turgeon was steered away by Tomkins. Tim Soderlund was the first choice for Derek King and the left-handed shot slowed up and sniped home a glove-side goal.
The Griffins leaned on their top scorer in Riley Barber to tie up the shootout and he did just that, beating Tomkins to pull even. An unlikely choice came next when defenseman Cody Franson grabbed the puck at center ice. The veteran blue liner beat Fulcher to put his team up by one in the shootout.
Tomkins put the final touches on the victory when he stopped Pearson, who had both goals for Grand Rapids in regulation. The IceHogs grabbed the extra point, winning 3-2.
What’s On Tap Next?
Rockford will get these next few days off before their battle with the Iowa Wild on Friday, May 7th.
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