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By: Nate Haeni
Photo by Greg Hamil.
Rockford improves to 5-0-0-1 against Grand Rapids in 2009-10

Rockford, Ill.- 
The Rockford IceHogs kept rolling with a 5-2 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday at the Rockford MetroCentre.  The victory extended the team's unbeaten streak to 6-0-0-1 over the last seven games.

It was Rockford's third straight win at home, extending their point streak to 5-0-0-1 at the Big Orange Box.

The Hogs took an early 3-0 lead, but then let the Griffins get back into the game in the second period.  Bryan Bickell wristed the puck past Thomas McCollum at 5:55 in the first period off an Evan Brophey face-off win for Rockford's first goal.

Then in the second period, Bracken Kearns picked up a loose puck in front of the net and hammered it home at 2:51 to give Rockford a two-goal lead.  Jack Skille added an assist.

And defenseman Jonathan Carlsson added a little more padding at 6:07 when he tickled the twine on a loose puck in the crease.  Skille and Kearns picked up helpers on the play.  It was Carlsson's first American Hockey League goal.

"It's always a special feeling to score," said Carlsson, who finished with a goal and +3 to be named the first star of the game. "But to do it in front of a big crowd like this is amazing."

The Griffins picked up their play in the second period and posted two late goals to make it 3-2 going into the second intermission.

Logan Pyett finished off a short-handed marker at 15:55 with a helper from Kris Newbury for Grand Rapids' first goal.  Then John Vigilante slipped a goal under Corey Crawford at 16:41 to bring the game back within one.  Evan McGrath had the helper.

"We lost a little bit of momentum in the second period there," Carlsson said. "But we picked it up again in the third. We did a good job of getting back.  We knew we had to step up and I think everyone did."

In the third period, Matt Keith found Mark Cullen in the far circle from behind the net and Rockford's leading scorer flipped the puck over McCollum at 12:32 to give the Hogs a two-goal lead again.

Richard Petiot also was credited with a helper
.  The blueliner has a goal and five assists in the team's last six games.

Kyle Greentree finished off Grand Rapids with an empty-net goal, his team-leading 17th goal of the season, an empty net goal, at 18:51 to put the Hogs up 5-2. Keith and Cullen registered the assists.  With the goal, Greentree extended his active point streak to seven games (5g-4a-9pts).

Crawford slapped away 28 shots in goal for the IceHogs to pickup his 10th win on the campaign while McCollum made 21 saves in a losing effort.  With the win, Crawford improves to 4-1-1-0 since returning to the ice on Jan. 8.

Neither team could find the net on the power play, Rockford had four chances while Grand Rapids had just two.

Next Home Game: Wednesday, Jan. 27 vs. Hamilton Bulldogs. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The IceHogs take on the Bulldogs for the first and only time at the Rockford MetroCentre in 2009-10. It’s a Golden Goal Wednesday, so if the IceHogs score a goal with 9:10 left on the clock in the third period, one lucky fan will win $10,000. It is also WXRX Student Rush night, and all high school and college students with a valid student ID can purchase the best available seat for just $5 at the MetroCentre’s box office up to one hour before the game. $1 from each ticket sold will go to the Haiti relief efforts as well.

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