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By: Mike Peck
The IceHogs returned home from a big win over the Milwaukee Admirals to fall 3-1 to the Lake Erie Monsters. (Photo by Greg Hamil)

Lake Erie has not lost to the Hogs in regulation in five meetings all time

Rockford, Ill.- The Rockford IceHogs gave up two goals in the third period to fall 3-1 to the Lake Erie Monsters at the Rockford MetroCentre on Friday.

With the score tied 1-1 in the third period, Lake Erie's Per Ledin scored at 5:52 with assists from Wes O'Neill and Mike Bartlett.  Then just eight seconds later T.J. Galiardi took a feed from Mike McCutcheon off of the face off to put the Monsters up by two, which is how the final would stand.

"We're a better hockey club than we were tonight," said defenseman Danny Groulx.  "We showed that last night and tonight we came out flat in our own building and that's something that we can't really do at this point in the game."

Evan Brophey got the scoring started
at 15:58 in the first period when he beat Jason Bacashihua for his 12th goal of the season.  Jack Skille and Niklas Hjalmarsson were credited with the assists.

But the IceHogs offense sputtered the rest of the game, recording only four shots in the first period and six in the second frame.  The Hogs finished with 20 shots, giving Bacashihua 19 saves for the win.

"The standings are so close and there are teams pushing really hard behind," Groulx said. "We can't take a night off like we did tonight.  Tomorrow we're coming in for a work out and we hope to recharge the batteries and refocus.  All of the games are important now.  We don't want to just be in the playoffs we want to be on our way up when they come."

In his first career American Hockey League game, Mike Bartlett tipped in his first AHL goal at 4:38 in the second.  Bartlett tipped in a shot from McCutcheon.

In five meetings between the two teams, the Monsters have not lost to the IceHogs in regulation.  Rockford is now 0-3-0-0 against Lake Erie inside the Rockford MetroCentre.

Corey Crawford had 25 saves in the loss.  Both teams were scoreless in four power play attempts.

Next Home Game: Friday, March 6 vs. Quad City Flames.  The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.  The IceHogs and Flames meet up in Rockford for the final time in 2008-09.  The first 2,500 kids 14-and under will receive an IceHogs Lunch Tin courtesy of Rock Valley Culligan, Rockford Health Systems and 13 WREX.

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