ROCKFORD, Ill. - Alex Biega totaled three assists and Cole Smith scored the game-winner to lead the Milwaukee Admirals to a 5-3 win over the Rockford IceHogs Tuesday, March 29 at BMO Harris Bank Center.
The win firmed Milwaukee’s spot in third place in the Central Division. Had Rockford defeated Milwaukee, in regulation, the IceHogs would’ve passed the Admirals and dropped Milwaukee into fourth place.
The win snapped a three game winless skid for Milwaukee (0-2-0-1). The loss stopped Rockford’s six-game points streak (5-0-1-0).
Milwaukee ’s game-winner was scored on the power play at 7:42 of the third frame. Matt Donovan slid a pass from the middle of the blue line to Cole Schneider at the right post. Schneider had time to deke, but couldn’t lift the puck over the leg of the goalie. Smith crashed the net and roofed the puck for the tally. It was Smith’s 16th goal of the season, sixth on the power play.
Rockford had a 2-0 lead after the first period despite a strong start for the Admirals. Milwaukee outshot the IceHogs 11-0 in the first 8:51 of the game but couldn’t put the puck into the net. Rockford’s first goal came at 10:52 of the first period. Brett Connolly deflected a shot from the left point into the bet for his 15th goal of the season.
The IceHogs grabbed a 2-0 lead at 13:22 of the first period when Dylan McLaughlin’s shot from the left circle snuck into the net for his eighth goal of the campaign.
Milwaukee bounced back in the second period with three goals to take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. The Admirals first goal came at 7:29 of the second stanza. Marc Del Gaizo’s shot from the left point was deflected out of mid-air by Mathieu Olivier. It was Olivier’s fifth goal of the season. Del Gaizo and Biega picked up assists. It was Biega’s first point since joining the Ads from the Toronto Maple Leafs organization last week.
The Admirals tied the game with a 4-on-4 goal at 10:28 of the second period. The Admirals bobbed and weaved in the offensive zone until Del Gaizo broke free from the right wing boards to the net. Biega fed him a pass from the left point and Del Gaizo buried his shot, with no defenders near him, for his sixth goal of the season. Biega and Brayden Burkę earned the helpers.
Milwaukee took the lead at 17:57 of the second with a Graham Knott power play goal. Biega fed a pass from the left circle to the right circle for a one-timer from Jimmy Huntington. The shot hit the post and bounced into the slot, off the chest, then the stick, of Knott. It was Knott’s 10th goal of the season and his second power play marker.
Rockford tied the game with a 5-on-3 power play goal at 4:03 of the third period. McLaughlin’s shot from the left circle found the back of the net to even the score 3-3.
Joseph LaBate closed the scoring with an empty-net goal at 19:50 of the third period. It was LaBate’s fifth goal of the year.
Milwaukee outshot the IceHogs 37-30 in the game. Admirals goalie Connor Ingram stopped 27 shots to earn his 26th win of the season.