ROCKFORD, Ill. — For 57:30 on Saturday night, the Rockford IceHogs had no answers for the Iowa Wild and goaltender Mat Robson. However, two goals in 28 seconds erased a 2-0 deficit, then Rockford scored on their only shot in overtime to defeat the Wild, 3-2. Matthew Highmore scored the game-winner with a little over a minute left in OT, and Kevin Lankinen earned the win with 30 saves. The Wild scored two power play goals.
The game was a close checking contest early on, as both teams generated just two shots through the first seven minutes of the match. A high sticking penalty to Philip Holm at 6:28 put the Wild on the power play. They capitalized a little over a minute later. Sam Anas made a slick no-look pass between his legs to Brennan Menell, who made a quick one-touch pass to Sam Anas at the left faceoff circle. Anas blasted the one-timer over Lankinen’s shoulder for his fourth goal of the year, giving Iowa a 1-0 lead.
The IceHogs had a huge opportunity to tie the score at 7:46 of the second when Mitch McLain was called for slashing and Will Bitten for tripping, giving Rockford a 5-on-3 power play. However, the IceHogs generated just three shots on net as the Iowa penalty killing units were stellar at keeping the play around the perimeter.
That proven to be huge as the Wild added to their lead nine minutes later. While on the power play, Colton Beck gained control of the puck in his end, heading up the ice toward the Rockford zone. He skated into the zone, then fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Lankinen for the unassisted goal. That was the first goal of the season for Beck.
Robson stopped the first 34 shots he faced as Rockford had no answers for the Wild goalie. That changed at 17:30 when the IceHogs scored two goals in the span of 28 seconds to tie the score.
The IceHogs pulled Lankinen and would score seconds later. Ian McCoshen passed the puck back to Lucas Carlsson at the point, who blasted a shot by a screened Robson to cut the deficit to one.
At 17:58, Rockford was back on the scoreboard again. Carlsson blasted another shot from the point but, this time, Tyler Sikura tipped it in for his fifth goal of the year, stunning the Wild.
The contest headed to overtime; the Wild regrouped early, recording the first three shots of OT. Rockford was not able to generate a chance through the first 3:54 of the extra frame, but that changed when Highmore entered the Iowa zone on a 2-on-1 break. He opted to keep the puck, firing a wrist shot over the glove of Robson for his second goal of the season to win it. The IceHogs scored goals on each of their last three shots of the contest.
The Iowa Wild finished their seven-game road trip earning points in six of those contests. They are now 7-1-3 (17 points), tops in the Central Division. The team heads home for the first of three games at the Wells Fargo Arena starting on Thursday with a later morning affair against the Chicago Wolves. The opening faceoff is set for 10:30.