Through the first three months of the season, the Rockford IceHogs only garnered 11 wins. But the IceHogs nearly matched that total in January alone, notching nine wins and ending the month on a seven game point streak with a record of 6-0-0-1 after a 3-1 win over the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday night in front of a sell-out crowd at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
It was the third annual Pink in the Rink night on Saturday, and a crowd of 6,287 came out to see the IceHogs win, the fourth largest attendance in IceHogs AHL history.
Knotted up at 1-1 heading into the middle frame, Joe Lavin broke the tie with his second goal of the season. The rookie defenseman started a rush up the ice after receiving a pass from Jeremy Morin, and blasted a shot from the Milwaukee blue line past Jeremy Smith to give the IceHogs a 2-1 lead.
Brandon Pirri earned his second helper of the night on the play and is now riding a season-high seven game point streak. The centerman has 3g-4a-7pts in that span and leads Rockford with 45 points (19g-26a) on the campaign.
With less than two minutes to go in the second period, the IceHogs took advantage of a power play opportunity to increase their lead to 3-1. Byron Froese and Ben Smith set up Brian Fahey, who fired a shot from the right side past Jeremy Smith to give Rockford a two goal lead heading into the second intermission.
Carter Hutton held the Admirals off the board the rest of the way to earn his 10th win of the season on 27 saves, while Jeremy Smith kicked away 27 IceHogs shots in the loss.
Rostislav Olesz put the IceHogs on the board first less than five minutes into the opening period. Lavin ripped a shot from the blue line that Olesz redirected, and Jeremy Smith could not react fast enough as the puck slipped past him at 4:15 of the opening frame. The marker was Olesz's 10th of the season, and the winger now has eight points (3g-5a) in his last six games.
Milwaukee tied the game at the 12:44 mark of the first frame. Taylor Beck tipped in a point shot from Scott Valentine over the glove of Hutton to make it a 1-1 game.
After giving up four power play goals against Charlotte on Thursday and Friday, Rockford's penalty kill stopped all four Milwaukee attempts on Saturday. The IceHogs were 1-for-5 on their man advantage opportunities.
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