Rockford pulls away for win in third period
With the score tied going into the third period Friday night, the Lake Erie Monsters got outscored 3-1 in the final 20 minutes of regulation, eventually falling to the visiting Rockford IceHogs, 5-3, at Quicken Loans Arena. The Monsters were led by Randy Rowe, who scored his first two goals of the season on Friday and was playing in his first game back from injury since January 13th. Captain Brian Willsie and alternate captain Darren Haydar had two assists apiece. Lake Erie is now 23-24-0-4, while Rockford improves to 30-19-2-3. The teams were playing the first of two games within 18 hours, as they will meet again Saturday afternoon.
The home team got on the scoreboard first, as Wes O'Neill recorded his second goal of the season at the 8:36 mark of the opening period. O'Neill was credited with the score, although IceHogs goalie Corey Crawford appeared to deflect it into his own goal after the initial save. Willsie and Matt Ford were given the assists.
Despite outshooting Rockford 11-4 in the first 20 minutes of play, Lake Erie could not capitalize further, and the score remained 1-0 after the first.
It didn't take too long before the IceHogs found the back of the net, as Richard Petiot notched his third goal of the season 4:30 into the second period. Bracken Kearns had the lone assist on the play, evening the score at one goal apiece.
Seven minutes later Rowe deflected a slapshot from Tom Preissing into the Rochester net, scoring his first goal of the season for Lake Erie. Haydar recorded the other assist on the go-ahead goal.
It was only 24 seconds before the IceHogs tied it right back up behind a goal from Bryan Bickell, his 11th of the year. Kyle Greentree and Petiot earned the assists on the goal at 11:42. The score would remained knotted at 2-2 for the rest of the middle frame.
The tide would turn in the third period, as the IceHogs nearly doubled the Monsters in shots on goal, 13-7, on the way to outscoring Lake Erie by two.
Greentree lit the lamp for himself, putting his team ahead 3-2 with his 19th goal of the season three minutes into the third period. Petiot again assisted, ending the night with three points (1G, 2A).
The Monsters fought back yet again, tying the game again less than five minutes later. Rowe's second of the night and the season brought the score to 3-3 at 7:56. He was assisted by Willsie and Haydar.
Friday's game was the first multi-point effort for Rowe this season and was the 10th and team-leading 13th for Willsie and Haydar, respectively. Willsie has posted points in three straight games (2G, 2A) and eight of the last 11 (4G, 10A).
Five minutes later the IceHogs would take the lead back for good behind a goal from Matt Keith, his 11th of the season, at 12:57. Pete MacArthur and Bickell assisted.
Rockford would keep the Monsters at bay for the last seven minutes, finally icing the game with Danny Bois' empty-net goal with 17 seconds remaining, giving the IceHogs the 5-3 win.
Monsters goalie Tyler Weiman finished the evening with 17 saves on 21 shots, while Crawford had 23 saves on 26 shots.
The teams will return to The Q at 1:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon for a rematch. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling 216-420-0000, visiting LakeErieMonsters.com or any Northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart.
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