Down 3-1 entering the third period against the Western Conference Champion Texas Stars and with a possible playoff berth on the line, the Rockford IceHogs pulled off a stunning 5-3 victory at Cedar Park Center to help Kent Simpson earn his first AHL win.
The win, Rockford's 42nd on the season, marked their AHL best 11th third period come-from-behind victory on the campaign and kept them tied with the Milwaukee Admirals for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
In order to get into the Calder Cup Playoffs, Rockford needs the Peoria Rivermen to knock off Milwaukee in Peoria on Sunday afternoon at 5:05 p.m.
Down 3-1 entering the third period, Rockford tied the contest with two goals in 43-seconds. Martin St. Pierre picked up a Christopher Nilstorp rebound in the slot and tucked his 26th goal of the season under the crossbar and in at 7:50.
The game was then tied at 8:33 of the final frame on a nice passing sequence. Standing back door. Brandon Svendsen picked up a cross-ice pass from Adam Clendening and beat Nilstorp in the open net for his sixth tally.
Ben Smith continued his goal scoring binge as he bagged the eventual game winner at 11:28. Brandon Pirri found Smith on the circle and the winger found the back of the net to give Rockford their first lead of the game. Smith added insurance off of another Pirri feed at 17:35 for his 27th goal to push the Hogs advantage to 5-3.
Pirri leads the AHL with 75 points, four more than Hershey's Jeff Taffe, who concludes his season on Sunday.