GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Rockford IceHogs bested the Grand Rapids Griffins 2-1 on Friday night at Van Andel Arena. The IceHogs moved into 4th place in the Central Division with 77 points and shrunk their magic number to two.
With 11 seconds left in the back-and-forth first period, forward Taro Hirose punched in a centering pass from forward Amadeus Lombardi past Rockford goaltender Arvid Soderblom, taking a 1-0 lead.
The IceHogs evened the score 1-1 halfway through the second stanza. As Rockford was clearing its defensive zone, forward David Gust shuttled a cross-ice pass to forward Lukas Reichel at the blue line. Picking up the disc in a one-on-one opportunity with defenseman Simon Edvinsson, Reichel went top shelf and sniped the puck over the shoulder of Griffins netminder Ryan Bednard at 9:59.
Scoring his sixth goal of the season and giving the Hogs the lead for the first time in the contest, defenseman Isaak Phillips jumped on a loose puck at center ice and crashed toward the net, flinging a shot past the blocker of Bednard at 3:08 to take a 2-1 lead to start the final frame.
The Griffins pulled Bednard in favor of the extra skater at 17:25, and Soderblom made a crucial shoulder save to deny Edvinsson at 18:23.
While the Hogs went 0-2 on the power play, Rockford went a perfect 2-2 on the penalty kill to hold off Grand Rapids.
Soderblom marked 19 saves on 20 Grand Rapids shots to earn the final regular season meeting with the Griffins. Bednard turned away 25 of 27 Rockford shots but was hit with the loss.
The IceHogs will be back home at the BMO Saturday hosting the Manitoba Moose at 7 p.m.