CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Despite tying the game in the third period, the Lake Erie Monsters (9-7-1-0) saw their winless streak extend to four games as they fell to the Rockford IceHogs (8-8-0-1) by a 4-2 score before a crowd of 9,480 at Quicken Loans Arena.
Luke Walker and Tyson Barrie had power play goals for the Monsters, and Mike Sgarbossa registered a pair of assists for Lake Erie in the loss.
Rockford’s Nick Leddy scored a power play goal from the left point at 1:07 of the first period to give Rockford the game’s first goal, and Kyle Beach extended the IceHogs lead to 2-0 at 8:08 of the second period.
Later in the second, with the Monsters on a power play, Bryan Lerg found Sgarbossa open in the left wing corner, and Sgarbossa sent a perfect backdoor pass to Walker, who fired the puck past Rockford goalie Alec Richards to pull the Monsters to within a goal at 12:37 of the middle frame. Walker’s goal was his fifth of the season.
The Monsters tied the game on the power play when Sgarbossa, from the right circle, spotted defenseman Barrie moving toward the net. The two connected on a pass, and Barrie snapped a puck past Richards for his fifth goal of the season at 2:58 of the third period. Barrie’s goal was also assisted by Thomas Pock.
Rockford added two goals in the third period; a Brandon Saad wrist shot from the left circle that beat Lake Erie’s Sami Aittokallio high to the glove side at 10:40 of the final period, and an Andrew Shaw empty-net goal in the final moments.
Aittokallio (4-4-0) stopped 33 of 36 shots for the Monsters. Richards (3-1-0) stopped 30 of 32 shots in the Rockford net.
The Monsters and IceHogs play again Saturday night at The Q, with the action beginning at 7:30 PM.
NOTES: Tonight’s crowd of 9,480 was the second largest of the season so far, behind Opening Night, and the second straight Friday night with more than 9,000 in attendance… The Monsters four-game winless streak (0-3-1-0) is their longest such streak of the season… The Monsters were 2-7 on the power play in the game; they are now 4-22 on the power play over their last six games… The Monsters are 0-2-0-0 against Rockford this season after carrying a perfect 4-0-0-0 record in last season’s season series against them… The Monsters are 6-3-0-0 when Luke Walker gets a point… Sgarbossa’s pair of assists snapped a three-game streak in which he had no points; the longest streak of the season… Patrick Bordeleau of the Monsters and Rockford’s Brandon Bollig were issued fighting majors at the 0:03 mark of the opening period.