ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs hosted one of the hottest teams in the AHL Friday night. The Iowa Wild entered the BMO Center with a 9-0-3 record over their last dozen games. The IceHogs weren’t able to keep the Wild from extending that point streak to thirteen games, but they did hand them a loss.
It took four rounds of shots and 31 saves by goalie Arvid Soderblom, but the IceHogs rallied from behind twice to knock off the Wild 3-2 in the shootout for their second straight win. Rockford (22-16-4-2) picked up just its second win of the season in eight tries against Iowa.
“I was proud of the guys, the way they stuck with it today and got the win,” Hogs coach Anders Sorensen told Rockford broadcaster Mike Folta following the game.
The IceHogs fell behind 1-0 just 2:17 into the game when Nick Swaney snuck the puck by Soderblom. The home team tied the score at 12:39 of the first period when Brett Seney redirected an Adam Clendening blast past Wild goalie Zane McIntyre.
After an evenly played second stanza, a late turnover gave Swaney his second goal of the night, sending Iowa into the locker room with a 2-1 lead.
“When they get that second one at the end of the second period, that’s when you really show some resilience,” said Sorensen. “Going into the third and just sticking with it. (We) talked about ‘We need just one shot here’ and we got that shot.”
That shot came 2:01 into the third period, when Lukas Reichel took a clearing pass from Dylan Sikura, skated to the right dot, and flung home the equalizer. Rockford kept the pressure on Iowa, although neither team was able to find the net in the last eighteen minutes of regulation or in overtime.
Booyah, Lukas Reichel! pic.twitter.com/vmdEjHY7E2
— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) February 4, 2023
The goalies went save-for-save in the shootout until Luke Philp sent a backhand past McIntyre in round four. Soderblom denied Marco Rossi to seal the win for the IceHogs. After giving up a questionable goal to Swaney, Soderblom settled down and had one of his best games with Rockford this season. The Hogs goalie stopped 31 shots to pick up a win, reminiscent of his 3-2 shootout win over Manitoba at the BMO Center on Tuesday night.
Philp, Seney, and Reichel have been big point producers all season. However, Sorensen was quick to point out the role his bottom-six forwards played in this two-game win streak. Players like Carson Gicewicz, Bobby Lynch, D.J. Busdeker, and Kale Howarth helped keep a lot of pucks in the offensive zone, created several solid chances, and silenced the Iowa power play on three occasions.
“They bring an identity to the group with their own lines and get a lot of zone time,” Sorensen pointed out. “We trust them a lot, so I’m really happy for those guys as well.”
Iowa (22-14-4-4) will put its point streak back on the line in Rockford, as the two teams face off again on Saturday night. The action is set to start at the BMO Center at 7:00 p.m. CDT.
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