Springfield, Mass. (WTVO/WQRF)— Despite playing shorthanded for nearly the entire final frame, the rolling Rockford IceHogs offense dropped four on the Springfield Thunderbirds to earn the 4-2 win at the MassMutual Center on Friday night. Four different IceHogs combined for Rockford’s first victory over the Thunderbirds including two power play tallies.
The physical match between the clubs featured 19 combined penalties for a total of 54 penalty minutes. While the first period only saw two penalties, the second and third frames held the other 17.
With plenty of pressure on both goaltenders to start the contest, forward Lukas Reichel had the only lamp lighter in the initial period with a one-timer blast from the right circle off at 10:51 on the Hogs’ first power play of the night to take a 1-0 lead.
Forward Buddy Robinson added to the IceHogs’ lead with a chip shot off a centering pass from forward Cole Guttman in the slot at 4:54 to make it 2-0. After Rockford’s successful four-minute penalty kill, Thunderbirds forward Greg Printz cut the lead in half at 15:00, but Guttman answered back and tapped the puck in behind Springfield netminder Joel Hofer with the IceHogs second power play goal of the night at 17:43. Nearing the end of the middle stanza, Alexey Toropchenko found the back of net against Rockford goalie Dylan Wells at 18:37 to make it 3-2 heading into the sandwich intermission.
Launching out of the face-off in the first minute of the third period, forward Luke Philp caught a centering pass from David Gust and sent a slap shot past Hofer at 0:39 to take back the IceHogs’ two goal lead and notched the only tally of the final stanza.
Earning the win, Wells faced 25 shots and totaled 23 saves while Hofer marked 19 saves and the loss. Rockford went 2-8 on the power play and held Springfield to 0-7 on the night.