MILWAUKEE, Wis. — The Rockford IceHogs topped the Milwaukee Admirals 4-1 at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Sunday evening, and the win clinched the IceHogs’ berth in the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs.
The IceHogs struck first early in the introductory frame when forward Bobby Lynch netted his 11th goal of the season. As defenseman Jakub Galvas directed a cross ice pass to the left circle, Lynch blasted a one-timer into the open net at 2:31 to take a 1-0 lead.
After Milwaukee forward Joakim Kemell was charged with a boarding major, Rockford went on its first power play of the night. Forward Luke Philp capitalized on the man advantage and sniped a pass from Joey Anderson over the glove of Admirals netminder Yaroslav Askarov at 11:32, extending the lead to 2-0.
Rockford stayed in control and scored its third goal of the first period at 17:15. Forward David Gust picked off a pass in the Admirals’ zone and angled a centering pass that forward Brett Seney tapped past Askarov, stretching the Hogs’ lead to 3-0 heading into the first intermission.
After a scoreless second stanza, the Admirals got on the board early to start the final frame. Forward Isaac Ratcliffe caught a centering pass from Tommy Apap and snapped a wrister past Rockford goalie Arvid Soderblom at 2:12 and cut the IceHogs’ lead to 3-1.
Milwaukee pulled Askarov in favor of the extra skater at 18:07, and forward Rocco Grimaldi punched in an empty-netter at 19:31 after stealing the puck from defenseman Marc Del Gaizo in Rockford’s zone to stamp the exclamation point on the IceHogs’ playoff-clinching win. Soderblom was nearly perfect in his 15th win of the season, stopping 27 of 28 Milwaukee shots. Askarov marked 12 saves on 15 Rockford shots but was hit with the loss.