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By: Chris Etheridge
The Rockford iceHogs dropped a 3-1 contest to Peoria in front of a sold out MetroCentre on Friday. (photo by Greg Hamil)

Hogs and Rivermen split home-and-home series

Rockford, Ill.- In front of their fourth sellout of the season, and a season high 5,951 at the Rockford MetroCentre, the Rockford IceHogs dropped a 3-1 contest to the Peoria Rivermen on Friday.

The IceHogs are 1-1-0-0 against NHL All-Star goaltender Manny Legace and the Rivermen as Legace has allowed just two goals in two games against Rockford after joining the Rivermen earlier this week.  He finished with 33 saves on Friday in the back-end of of a home-and-home series.

"Since Rochester we've only had one goal in each game," said Rockford coach Bill Peters. "So give all of those goaltenders credit. Is it the goaltenders going a great job against us or is it us as an offensively challenged team right now not able to generate our offense?"

The scoring started with a Chris Conner goal at 10:48 in the first period.  Steve Regier and Trent Whitfield assisted.  It is the first time since the All-Star Break (eight games) that the Hogs have not scored the first goal of a game.

"I think we did a great job driving the middle on the odd-man rushes," said Peters. "But we didn't get good looks because we didn't have guys going to the net to back them up."

Then in the second, former IceHogs defenseman Justin Fletcher drove in Peoria's second goal on a power play at 13:41 off of helpers from Whitfield and Regier.

"I didn't mind our first six or seven minutes, but then I thought we were real sleepy the rest of the first period," Peters said. "But then once we fell behind, we got desperate in the third and got a little bit of energy."

The lone IceHogs goal came from captain Tim Brent.  Brent finally solved Lagace at 5:10 into the third off of a pass from Pascal Pelletier.  Danny Groulx was also credited with an assist.

"We weren't able to get the equalizer," Peters said. "We had a couple of good looks and we had the pucks bouncing a round a little bit in the paint, but nothing went in."

Defenseman Jonas Junland landed an empty-net goal at 18:07 in the third to cap off the win. The assists went to Jeff Cowan and Trent Whitfield who won the puck off of a faceoff.

Corey Crawford had 28 saves on the night.  The Hogs finished 1-for-6 on the power play, while Peoria was 1-for-5.

Next Home Game: Saturday, Feb. 14 vs. Rochester Americans. The puck drops at 7:05. Happy Valentine's Day from Clodius & Co. Jewelers and the Rockford IceHogs!  The Hogs welcome the Rochester Americans into the Rockford MetroCentre for the first and only time in 2008-09. Clodius & Co. Jewelers will be giving away $5,000 in merchandise throughout the night.

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