The Rockford IceHogs (11-16-1-0) fell to the Iowa Wild (14-12-4-0) in a physical battle on Friday night.
The Iowa Wild have been known to ruffle some feathers on the ice, and this contest was no different. Rockford saw two of their players fight throughout the game; Evan Barratt and Andrei Altybarmakyan dropped the gloves, but neither fight was much to write home about. Unfortunately, the same can be said about the scoreboard.
In the first period,Rockford and Iowa wasted no time getting chippy with one another. Pushing, shoving, and probably some words not meant for television were exchanged.
The back-and-forth action lead to a Wild goal at the 13:54 mark. After IceHogs' tough guy Riley McKay and Louie Belpedio got tangled up, the Wild marched down the ice and scored to make it 1-0. It was Belpedio's goal on the scoresheet and during the celebration, Belpedio pointed at McKay in a not-so-nice manner.
Time expired with the Wild holding a one-goal lead. However, as players left the ice, Barratt was one of a few 'Hogs to exchange words with Iowa players.
The middle frame started strong for the 'Hogs, but ended with a shocking series of events. Just after their power play expired, Rockford tied the game when Chad Yetman and Michal Teply assisted on Mitchell Fossier's game-tying goal. Teply went between the legs with a no-look effort to set up the goal.
As the period progressed, momentum started swinging in Iowa's direction. Turner Ottenbreit took advantage of a 'Hogs turnover and his long shot gave the Wild a 2-1 lead.
Later, Gerry Mayhew continued his wrath against Rockford this season with a turnaround prayer shot to double the Wild lead, making it 3-1. Mayhew has nine goals this season, six of them have come against the IceHogs. Iowa added a power play goal when Gabriel Dumont slammed home a rebound goal right in front of Tomkins to extend the Wild lead to 4-1. All of Iowa's markers came within a matter of 5:16.
Iowa took advantage of IceHogs penalties in the third to put a stamp on the game. Carson Gicewicz was sent to the box for a double minor when he caught a Wild player with a follow through on a chip attempt. Rockford killed off the first half of the penalty, but Belpedio netted his second of the night to make it 5-1. Just before that goal, Altybarmakyan triggered a delayed call for slashing. After the goal, the two guilty parties traded places, giving Iowa another two-minute power play.
With under a minute to go at even strength, Will Bitten added salt to the wound with a shot that beat Tomkins, giving the Wild a 6-1 lead. That score held as the clock hit 0:00.
Not only did Iowa Dismantle the IceHogs, they peppered Tomkins with over 40 shots through 60 minutes and snapped Rockford's three-game power play goal streak. Special teams was an area that helped the IceHogs' mojo in recent games, but the Wild negated that, killing every penalty they committed.
What's On Tap Next?
A frustrating night for Rockford will have to be quickly forgotten as both teams face off again on Sunday. The IceHogs will host the Wild, who will be traveling on game day, at BMO Harris Bank Center at 4:00 PM CDT.