Jake Dowell, Jack Skille and Jordan Hendry make a splash in their return to the Rockford roster
St. Pierre's power play goal in the second period put the Hogs up 1-0. With the Hogs defense holding Jason Krog pointless, St. Pierre took sole possession of the point lead in the AHL. (Photo by Greg Hamil)
Rockford, Ill.- The IceHogs and Wolves battled for 60 minutes and the Hogs came out on top by a score of 4-3 in another nail-biter between the two top teams in the AHL's West Division.
Of the five games the Wolves and Hogs have played this season, four have had a point difference of one and two have gone to overtime. The win in front of 4,857 at the Rockford MetroCentre puts the Hogs up by five standing points, their largest lead of the season.
After a quiet first period, the IceHogs took advantage of a 5-on-3 and then a 5-on-4 power play to go up 2-0 in the middle frame. With 24 seconds left on a two-man advantage, Martin St. Pierre pounded through the Hogs' first goal at 7:37 with assists from Prestin Ryan and Petri Kontiola. Just 12 seconds later, Bryan Bickell followed it up with a marker of his own with assists from Jack Skille and Danny Richmond.
But the Wolves cut the lead in half with a lamp-lighter from Jesse Schultz at 11:57. Steve Martins and Nathan Oystrick recorded the assists. And then Brett Sterling added a power-play goal at 14:54 to tie the game at 2. Karel Pilar and Oystrick had the assists.
Ryan Stokes put through his third goal of the season at 17:11 with an assist from Ryan, and Bickell, with helpers from Petri Kontiola and Jack Skille, put the Hogs up 4-2 with his second goal of the night at 18:29 in the second.
But Oystrick brought the Wolves back into the game with his third point of the night, a goal at 1:53 in the third period. Jordan LaVallee and Kevin Doell were credited with the assists.
Several players heard their names called over the speakers a couple of times Friday. Oystrick recorded his third three-point game of the season. All three games were against Rockford. The first was Nov. 24 and the second was on Jan. 4.
For Rockford, Bickell, Ryan, Kontiola and Skille all had two points. With his goal in the second frame, St. Pierre moved ahead of Jason Krog in the AHL point standings. Krog was held without a point in the game.
Corey Crawford, who is on pace to appear in 66 games this season, won his league-leading 23rd game. The netminder stopped 27 shots compared to Ondrej Pavelec's 37 stoppers.
Skille, along with Jake Dowell and Jordan Hendry, was loaned to the Hogs from the Chicago Blackhawks late this afternoon.
Dowell was recalled from Rockford back on November 19th and scored his first NHL goal, a shorthanded tally, in his first NHL game back on November 22nd at Calgary. He has appeared in 18 games for the Blackhawks this season scoring two goals and three points with six penalty minutes. Dowell missed 12 games with a broken foot earlier this season resulting from a blocking a shot in Edmonton on November 24th.
Skille was recalled from Rockford on December 29th and has appeared in 13 games for the Blackhawks scoring three goals while adding two assists for five points. Skille played in his first career NHL game on December 30th against the Los Angeles Kings. He scored his first career NHL goal on January 8th at Montreal.
Hendry was recalled from Rockford on January 9th and has appeared in eight games for the Blackhawks and has not scored while posting eight penalty minutes. Hendry played in his first career NHL game versus Dallas on January 9th.
The Wolves received defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski and forwards Sterling and Colin Stuart from the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday afternoon.
Next Home Game: Saturday, Jan. 26 vs. Iowa Stars. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The Hogs and Stars face-off for the first time in Rockford and fourth overall. The first 1,000 fans to the game will pick up an IceHogs baseball hat courtesy of Wireless One, WXRX-FM 104.9 and 23WIFR.