ROCKFORD 2, SAN ANTONIO 1
Rockford and San Antonio played to a scoreless duel through two periods, but the IceHogs struck twice in the third frame and eked out a 2-1 win over the visiting Rampage on Monday afternoon at the MetroCentre.
After 40 minutes of scoreless hockey, Rockford center Evan Brophey scored 13 seconds into the third period when he received the puck off a Rampage turnover in front of the net and found a small gap behind goaltender Matt Climie to give the IceHogs a 1-0 lead.
Rockford extended its lead to 2-0 as right wing Hugh Jessiman scored at 8:23 of the final frame. After an IceHogs faceoff win, Garnet Exelby tapped the puck from the slot to Jessiman along the left wing boards where he buried a long shot to the high glove side of Climie.
San Antonio responded just 1:27 later when Andrew Ebbett wrapped the puck around the left post and beat IceHogs netminder Hannu Toivonen stick side. Ryan Hollweg and Jamie Bates assisted on Ebbett’s 11th goal of the season. The line of Hollweg, Ebbett and Bates has accounted for all three of the Rampage’s goals in their last two games.
Climie turned aside 35 shots of 37 IceHogs attempts earning him second star of the game, while Toivonen made 23 saves on 24 Rampage shot attempts for the first star award and his 10th victory of the season (10-7-3).
The IceHogs have now won a season-high three straight games and moved to 19-16-1-4 for the year. Rockford is still six points back of Chicago in its effort to climb out of the West Division cellar but still holds a whopping six games in hand on the Wolves.
San Antonio, meanwhile, continues to struggle following a 23-9-1-0 start to the year. The Rampage have lost five straight games – totaling six goals in that span – and dropped to 2-9-0-0 in their last 11 contests.