Rockford rockets to first place with a win over Checkers
Charlotte -- A two-game weekend sweep over the Charlotte Checkers has lifted the Rockford IceHogs into first place in the AHL's Midwest Division. Rockford toppled the Checkers 4-1 on Sunday at the Time Warner Cable Arena.
Carter Hutton made 30 saves for Rockford, who has won five-straight road games and finished a stretch of seven games in 12 days with a 6-1-0-0 record.
Rookie defenseman Adam Clendening stayed hot for Rockford, putting them on top in the first frame. Clendening fired a Nick Leddy pass through traffic and past Dan Ellis at the 11:00 mark of the opening period for his fourth goal of the season.
In the second period, winger Kyle Beach extended Rockford's lead to 2-0. Beach picked up a cross-ice feed from Andrew Shaw and sniped his seventh goal of the season over the shoulder of Dan Ellis at 15:56.
Charlotte cut into Rockford's lead 7:23 into the third period. Brett Sutter found a loose puck in front of Hutton and slipped his seventh goal of the season under the IceHogs goalie, his only blemish on the afternoon.
Brandon Pirri answered for Rockford to restore their two-goal lead. The center knocked down a Brett Lebda pass and beat Ellis on a breakaway with a backhanded shot under the cross bar at 13:36.
Martin St. Pierre sealed it for Rockford with an empty-net goal at 18:39, his eighth goal on the campaign.