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By: Mike Peck
Rockford runs point streak to four games

Peoria, Ill.- Shootouts have not been kind to the Rockford IceHogs in 2009-10. That trend continued on Saturday night as the IceHogs fell in Peoria 4-3 in extra hockey despite 37 saves by Corey Crawford.

Rockford jumped out to a 2-0 on Saturday with a pair of power-play goals in the first period. Bracken Kearns put the IceHogs on the board when he jammed home a rebound past Hannu Toivoven off of a Jack Skille shot at 10:33.  Kyle Greentree also figured in with an assist.

Later in the first Matt Keith finished off a feed from Pete MacArthur in the slot, shelving his ninth goal of the season on the advantage at 15:55. Bryan Bickell also assisted on the goal.

Peoria got a goal back before the first intermission. Derek Armstrong picked up a loose puck that was blocked by Bickell off of a Jonas Junland slapshot and found the back of the IceHogs net at 19:00 for his seventh goal of the season.

Evan Brophey extended the IceHogs lead to 3-1 at 6:02 of the second period. Brophey knocked down a Rob Klinkhammer centering pass and fired home his eighth goal of the season past Toivonen.

But the Rivermen came storming and tied the game heading into the second break. Yan Stastny closed the gap to 3-2 when he shoved a power-play tally under Crawford at 11:33 of the middle period.

Then Armstrong tied the contest with his second marker of the night. Armstrong cashed in when Julian Talbot found him wide open in the slot and the veteran winger made it 3-3 at 16:01.

A scoreless third period sent the game into overtime and eventually into the shootout.  Rockford nearly put up the game away late in the third however, but Brophey was denied in the open net by Toivonen while the IceHogs were shorthanded.

In the shootout Nicolas Drazenovic (second round) and Pascal Pelletier (fifth round) scored for Peoria while Akim Aliu tallied Rockford’s only shootout marker in round four.  Rockford has now just scored five times in 24 shootout chances and their record dropped to 1-3 in the extra session.

Toivonen made 31 saves to earn the shootout win. Rockford’s power play finished 2-4 while the Rivermen converted one of four power play chances.

Next Home Game: Saturday, Jan. 23 vs. Grand Rapids Griffins. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The IceHogs welcome the Griffins back to the MetroCentre for the second time this season. The first 2,500 fans into the building will receive an IceHogs fleece blanket courtesy of Lonnie’s Carpet Max. Fans are also encouraged to bring their skates to skate with the Hogs after the game.

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