ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Joe Fallon helped the Rockford IceHogs get a rare win away from home.
Fallon made 31 saves and the IceHogs picked up just their third road win with a 2-1 decision over the Abbotsford Heat in American Hockey League action Saturday. Fallon made many spectacular saves in the first forty minutes to keep his team in the game. Garth Murray had an excellent short-handed chance in the first period as his shot beat Fallon but hit the goal post.
In the second period, Jason Jaffray hit Matt Pelech with a perfect pass as he was stepping out of the penalty box. The Heat defenceman was in the clear from the blue-line, but could not beat Fallon.
“He’s a good goaltender,” said Ice Hogs head coach Bill Peters. “He’s a second-year pro, he’s an all-star in the East Coast Hockey League and now he’s earned the right to continue to develop. He’s been real good for us.”
The IceHogs rebounded from a 4-2 loss to the Heat on Friday night.
“We played with a lot more passion tonight,” Peters said. “Last night I didn’t like our energy level we weren’t a very committed group. Obviously tonight we were a more committed group and we got the result we needed.”
Rockford opened the scoring near the midway mark of the second period when Nathan Davis managed to convert a bouncing rebound off a Matt Keith shot.
The IceHogs (7-8-2) opened a 2-0 lead before second period was over. With the Heat down two men, Matt Cullen feathered a perfect pass to Evan Brophey at the side of the net. Brophey easily beat Heat goaltender Leland Irving, who was out of position.
Kris Chucko had a glorious chance near the 18-minute mark of the third, with Fallon down and out; the Heat forward could not beat the Ice Hogs starter shooting it off Fallon’s glove.
Abbotsford (8-5-3) finally spoiled Fallon’s shutout bid in the final minute of the game when Mikael Backlund managed to slap a bouncing puck past the IceHogs starter.
“It was a tough game,” Chucko said. “Obviously in the second period there they took it to us a bit, but we knew they were going to bring 60 (minutes), but we weren’t far off.”
With the win Fallon moved to 2-3-0-0 and was named the games first star.
“I just wanted to keep doing what I was doing, be strong on my skates,” Fallon said. “I felt strong out there and I was pretty comfortable.”
Irving made 29 saves for the Heat.