Goals from five different players led the Rockford IceHogs to a 5-3 victory over the host Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
Akim Aliu, Daryl Boyle, Rob Klinkhammer, Bryan Ewing and Jake Dowell all netted their first markers of the season for the IceHogs [2-1-1], who have now won two straight.
Jiri Tlusty scored twice and Jonas Frogren got his first for the Marlies [2-1] who after a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind victory against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday were all out of miracles against a determined Rockford club.
Marlies coach Dallas Eakins says his team, which led 2-1 after two, needs to do a better job of staying focused if they are going to have success this season.
“We did have the lead and we did dominate the period and I think the guys got a little over confident, playing a team that’s played three games in three nights,” he said.
“This is a tough league to play in and no team goes away lightly.”
The IceHogs opened the scoring at 4:09 of the first as Aliu’s wrist shot over Marlies goaltender James Reimer [1-1] put Rockford up 1-0.
A second round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks, his goal was as much pressure the IceHogs could put on Reimer as they did not register another shot until 2:28 remaining, their only other one in the first period.
Between that time, Rockford spent much of its time in its own zone as the Marlies continued to pressure goaltender Joe Fallon [1-1] with centre Tyler Bozak getting the best early opportunity on a close wrister that was stopped by Fallon’s right pad at 6:49.
The Marlies finally struck at 13:26 when Frogren’s wrist shot past the IceHogs goaltender tied the game at 1-1. Tlusty’s goal came at 16:46 after the IceHogs’ Danny Bois received an unsportsmanlike penalty 1:08 later.
Hogs come out rooting
While the first may have belonged to Toronto, which outshot Rockford 11-2, the second belonged to the IceHogs.
First, it was Boyle’s shot from just inside the blue line that beat Reimer at 2:52 to tie the game at 2-2.
The Marlie goaltender’s struggles continued as he could not glove a Bracken Kearns wrist shot and as the puck trickled past him in the crease, Klinkhammer put the easy tip in into the empty net to restore the IceHogs one-goal lead at 4:21.
Toronto’s frustrations began to show midway through the second when defencenceman Brennan Evans was assessed an interference penalty at 11:18, followed by a roughing call on Frogren 18 seconds later.
Rockford capitalized on the two-man advantage thanks to an unlucky Marlies bounce off the boards that landed on the stick of Ewing, who put it past Reimer at 11:57 for a 4-2 lead.
Dowell then added a shorthanded marker, beating Reimer on a breakaway at 15:36 after a Marlies turnover inside their own zone to give Rockford a three-goal lead after the second, a period where they outshot Toronto 18-8.
Tlusty’s third goal on the campaign came at 14:08, as his breakaway shot went over the shoulder of Fallon. Dating back to last season, the former Toronto Maple Leafs first rounder has scored 28 goals and 70 points in 69 games.
“That’s what he’s got to do at this level,” Eakins said of the young Czech’s goal-scoring ability. “He can’t just get by on his defensive play. He has to score and he knows that.”
Notes: Rockford has never lost to Toronto and is 5-0 lifetime against the Marlies … The IceHogs have not yet played a home game this season, starting their first five games on the road … Marlies forward Alex Foster added an assist on Frogren’s goal for his 100th career AHL point … Attendance for the game was 1,202.