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By: Mike Peck
Photo by Todd Reicher

Rockford drops 6-3 game in Abbotsford

Abbotsford, B.C.- A season-high 48 shots on goal and outshooting the Abbotsford Heat by 29 wasn't enough to lift the Rockford IceHogs on Friday as they dropped a 6-3 decision at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

Opportunistic scoring by the Heat, capitalizing on Rockford miscues in the defensive zone, sunk the IceHogs on a night where the Hogs had an opportunity to strengthen their playoff positioning. Rockford outshot the Heat 48-19 in the contest and controlled the pace for nearly the entire 60 minutes.

Rockford struck first on Friday night with Mark McNeill's 17th goal of the season. McNeill picked up an Alex Broadhurst pass and in transition, cut in front of Joni Ortio from the left wing and tucked in the marker 3:05 into the contest. Klas Dahlbeck also figured in on the goal with an assist.

Even though Rockford carried the play for the first half of the first period, the Heat tied the game later in the frame. Tim Miller cleaned up a Dean Arsene rebound at 11:25 to make it 1-1.

Abbotsford converted on their first power play attempt of the game to grab the 2-1 advantage. A double tipped puck beat Jason LaBarbera at 16:40 as Sven Baertschi got a piece of a Max Reinhart shot before it was deflected again by Corbin Knight into the net.

Knight later pounced on a loose puck after a Rockford turnover for his second of the frame at 18:04 making it 3-1 at the first intermission despite the IceHogs outshooting the Heat 18-10.

In the second period, the IceHogs quickly made it a one goal game. Terry Broadhurst spotted his brother Alex behind the Abbotsford goal and Alex wrapped in his 14th goal of the season 49-seconds into the stanza to make it a 3-2 game.

But another defensive miscue chased LaBarbera from the game later in the period, restoring Abbotsford's two goal lead. After a Rockford face-off win, Wade Brookbank coughed up a puck behind the IceHogs goal and Knight completed his hat trick at 7:28, flipping in the loose puck.

Baertschi stretched the Heat lead to 5-2 at 13:49 of the second period. The winger's centering pass was deflected off of an IceHogs stick and past Kent Simpson and Baertschi was given credit for his 11th goal of the season.

The IceHogs, however, shrank their deficit back to a pair with a power play goal. Adam Clendening's point blast beat a screened Ortio at 16:12 for his 11th marker of the year, making it a 5-3 game at the second intermission.

Rockford outshot the Heat 16-4 in the second period and 14-4 in the third frame but couldn't get any closer. The game was iced at 19:18 of the third when Baertschi dumped his 12th goal of the season into an empty Rockford goal.

Next Home Game: Friday, April 11 against the Milwaukee Admirals. The puck will drop at 7 p.m. as these two Midwest Division rivals meet got the last time at the BMO and last time on the regular season.

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