ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Philipp Kurashev netted his first professional tally as the game-winning goal midway through the second period and Kevin Lankinen turned aside 19 of 20 shots to help the Rockford IceHogs extend their home winning streak to five straight games with a 3-1 win over the Toronto Marlies Wednesday morning at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
A season-high 5,683 fans packed the BMO to witness the Hogs deal the Marlies their first regulation loss of the 2019-20 season.
Philip Holm brought the puck in from the point on the power play to help set up Kurashev’s deciding marker. As the defense collapsed to meet Holm, Kurashev skated to the top of the left circle and wristed home a feed from Holm for his first goal of his pro career. The tally boosted the IceHogs to a 2-1 lead and gives the Hogs four power-play goals over their last four games.
Matt Read beat Kevin Lankinen eight seconds into the second period but Reese Johnson cashed in for his third goal in four games just 24 seconds later to even the score at 1-1. Nick Moutrey set up Johnson’s goal when his shot kicked off Marlies netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo. Johnson then raced in and blasted the loose rebound past Kaskisuo’s outstretched glove to retie the contest.
Lankinen finished with 19 saves to secure his third consecutive win and cap off a great defensive effort by the IceHogs.
“We just kept everything tight and kept it (the Marlies offensive action) to the outside,” said IceHogs coach Derek King. “We didn’t give them much of super chances down the slot or down the pipe. We did block some shots too.”
“They’re a top team in this league and a lot of skill,” said Johnson. “That’s something we talked about in the room and yesterday and this morning before the game, but we knew we had to be sound defensively and I think we did a pretty good job. Still obviously there are areas to clean up, but for the most part I think we did a good job.”
“They have a really good team over there, and I think the last couple games we’re starting to really play well and yea, hopefully we can keep it rolling here,” said Kurashev.
Rockford has now won four consecutive games and six of the last eight tilts dating back to Oct. 18. The victory also snapped the Marlies’ 10-game point streak after Toronto began the 2019-20 campaign at 7-0-2-1.