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Wells, Reichel Lead IceHogs Over Milwaukee

Dylan Wells stonewalled Milwaukee in the shootout, helping lead Rockford to a 2-1 win. (Photo by Todd Reicher/Rockford IceHogs)

Wells, Reichel Lead IceHogs Over Milwaukee

ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs and Milwaukee Admirals have been two of the American Hockey League’s hottest offensive teams, lighting up the scoreboard in each of their three previous meetings this season. Wednesday night at the BMO Center, the two teams flipped that formula on its ear.

It was an old-fashioned goalie battle in Rockford. The IceHogs Dylan Wells and Milwaukee’s Yaroslav Askarov each surrendered a single goal in regulation, leading their squads through overtime and into a shootout. Wells stopped all three Admirals shooters, allowing Lukas Reichel, just back from a one-game call-up for Chicago, to flip the game-winner past Askarov for a 2-1 Rockford victory.

The IceHogs (12-7-0-1) even the season series with first-place Milwaukee; the two teams have split four games. Wednesday’s triumph is also Rockford’s third in a row.

In a game where the goalies stopped 56 shots in regulation and overtime, it was the two that went in that both Wells and Askarov would like to have had back.

Milwaukee took advantage of a blocked shot to set up the night’s first goal. John Leonard got in front of a lengthy attempt by Mike Hardman. The puck came out of the Admirals zone and was collected by Kiefer Sherwood. Hardman had the Milwaukee forward well-defended coming down the right half-boards, forcing a shot from the corner. The offering got under the pads of Wells and slid across the goal line at 9:42 of the first period. Despite out-shooting the Admirals 10-7, Rockford trailed 1-0 at the first intermission.

Wells settled in from that point, keeping the IceHogs in the game despite the stinginess of Askarov, who was 10-4 entering the contest. Rockford was denied on 33 shots throughout the first 54 minutes of action. However, the Hogs got the equalizer late in the third period.

Hardman hauled in an Alec Regula shot attempt behind the Admirals net. His centering pass did not connect and was heading out of the offensive zone until Issak Phillips gathered it just short of the blue line. Phillips sent a pass to Reichel, who skated to the right faceoff dot and sent a shot toward the Milwaukee crease. Askarov got a glove on the puck, only to have it flutter into the cage with 5:46 remaining in regulation.

Neither team was able to post a goal during the three-on-three overtime, leading to Reichel’s shootout heroics.

Wells stopped Luke Evangelista, Tommy Novak, and Sherwood to finish off the Admirals with a 20-save performance. Askarov, who stopped 36 Rockford shots in all, was the hard-luck loser in the defensive struggle.

Milwaukee (14-6-0-1) is on the road this weekend, traveling to Hartford and Springfield on Friday and Saturday. The IceHogs, who beat both the Wolf Pack and the Thunderbirds last weekend to start their current win streak, host the Iowa Wild Friday and Saturday.

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    Jon Fromi covers the Rockford IceHogs for Field Pass Hockey. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @FPHIceHogs.

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