Rallying for two goals in the third period, the Rockford IceHogs came from behind to defeat the San Antonio Rampage, 3-2, on Saturday at the Rockford MetroCentre.
San Antonio (24-23-3-6) entered Saturday’s contest 2-2-0-0 overall and 1-2-0-0 in Rockford in 2009-10.
The IceHogs found the scoreboard first, at the 11:36 mark of the opening frame, on a goal by right wing Jack Skille. Receiving a pass from defenseman Jason Cullimore along the left boards in the neutral zone, Rockford left wing Pete MacArthur took a hit from a Rampage defenseman, but maintained control and drove into the San Antonio zone before finding Skille in the high slot. Skille then skated down between the hash marks before beating Rampage goaltender Josh Tordjman five-hole.
The Rampage tied the game 27 seconds later with center Kevin Porter’s 13th goal of the season. Maintaining control of the puck along the right boards in the neutral zone, San Antonio right wing Mikkel Boedker left a pass for forward David Spina at the Rockford blueline. Spina then drove into the right side of the IceHogs zone before finding Porter on the left side of the high slot, where the Rampage center beat Rockford netminder Joe Fallon low to the glove side on a wrist shot to knot the game at 1-1.
The Rampage took the lead at the 19:11 mark of the second on a power-play goal by rookie right wing Matt Watkins. Working on the man-advantage, Porter gained possession of the puck on the left half wall in the Rockford zone before finding Boedker in the high slot, where the winger one-timed a slap shot off Fallon’s leg pads to Watkins in the slot. Wasting little time, Watkins lifted a backhand over a sprawling Fallon and into the upper right corner of the IceHogs net to provide San Antonio with a 2-1 lead before the end of the second stanza.
At the 4:14 mark of the third period, with Rampage forward Francis Lessard serving a hooking penalty, Skille tied the game at two goals apiece. Grabbing a loose puck at the red line near center ice, Skille drove into the San Antonio zone and split two Rampage defensemen before beating Tordjman high to the stick side. The man-advantage goal represented the first power-play goal San Antonio has surrendered since February 12 in Peoria.
Four minutes and 27 seconds later, Rockford took a 3-2 lead on a goal by center Matt Keith. After intercepting a Tordjman clearing attempt along the left boards, MacArthur fired a pass to Keith between the hash marks before the center beat the Rampage netminder low to the glove side.
Tordjman made 19 saves on 22 Rockford shots in the loss, while Fallon turned away 29 of 31 San Antonio shots for the victory.
The Rampage were 1-for-4 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill in the contest.
The loss represented the first time the Rampage have been defeated this season after leading when heading into the third period.
San Antonio returns to action Sunday afternoon in Chicago for a 3:00 p.m. matchup against the Wolves at Allstate Arena.