The Chicago Blackhawks AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, rallied for a weekend split after falling behind 3-1 to Lake Erie Saturday night. It took a little scrapping and a lot of penalty minutes to do it, but Rockford woke up to post a 6-3 come-from-behind win.
The IceHogs racked up 88 penalty minutes at the BMO Center Saturday night, most of which came after the horn sounded to end the second period. It was a rough game on both sides up to that point. Marcus Kruger, of all people, took two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, the second of which resulted in a ten-minute misconduct in the 15th minute.
Rockford drew to 3-2 late in the second on Adam Clendening's first professional goal. As the period ended, Dylan Olsen was engaged by Lake Erie's Patrick Bordeleau. Andrew Shaw flew off the Rockford bench and into the Monsters wing. Shaw was followed by Wade Brookbank, who was restrained by officials.
Brandon Bollig also came off the bench and attempted to invite Bordeleau to dance. When Bordeleau declined the request, Bollig went to work on the Lake Erie bench. Rockford coach Ben Simon was also assessed a game misconduct in the melee.
In all, Shaw, Brookbank, Bollig and Simon were assessed 54 minutes of penalties. Jeremy Morin, who was on the ice when things got physical, was also given a two-minute roughing penalty. Bordeleau was also removed from the game.
Down five players and one coach (Kruger was still serving his misconduct) to open the final period, the IceHogs came out highly motivated and set about avoiding a sweep of the weekend after dropping a 6-3 decision to Chicago Friday. Shawn Lalonde tied the game five minutes in. Then Rockford stormed ahead midway through the frame with three goals in the space of 3:10.
Brandon Pirri gave Rockford the lead with a power play goal at the 9:11 mark. Kyle Beach and Morin also hit home to provide the final margin of victory.
Expect some suspensions to follow after this one. Three Rockford players left the bench, while Lake Eire remained a bit more disciplined and avoided escalating the incident. Shaw and Bollig in particular may miss a few games, which could leave them shorthanded with Bandon Saad still not back from a leg injury.
I'll have more on the IceHogs weekend as the league responds.
UPDATE-Wednesday, noon: Shaw was hit with a six-game suspension by the league. Brookbank is out one contest. Olsen received two-games for an earlier head shot. I'll weigh in Thursday with more details and thoughts.