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By: Mike Peck
Photo by Jason Villanueva
Connelly nets two goals in 4-3 shootout loss

Houston, Tex.-Brian Connelly continued to rack up the points and Hannu Toivonen had another solid start for the Rockford IceHogs but it wasn’t enough as the IceHogs fell to the Houston Aeros 4-3 in a shootout at the Toyota Center in a school day game.

Connelly turned in his first career multi-goal game and Rockford’s first of the season while Toivonen blocked 37 Aeros shots.

Houston potted the only first period goal and it came late in the period. Jon DisSalvatore picked up a loose puck jammed in front of Toivonen by Matt Kassian and flipped in his fifth goal of the season at 19:06 of the opening frame. 

Connelly and the IceHogs tied the game early on in the second frame. Igor Makarov dug a puck out from behind the Houston goal and fed Jeff Taffe who set Connelly up for his second goal of the campaign at 3:15 of the middle frame.

Ryan Potulny later made it 2-1 with a breakaway goal. After both clubs failed to convert in transition Potulny picked up an Aeros turnover at the Rockford blueline and skated end-to-end and beat Anton Khudobin five-hole for his fifth marker of the season at 9:56.

J.M. Daoust tied the game at 2-2 7:05 into the third period. The gritty winger cleaned up a Cody Almond rebound from behind Hannu Toivonen for his fifth goal of the season.

Rockford quickly reclaimed the lead with Connelly’s second goal of the game. The d-man picked off an Aeros pass at the blueline and snuck his third goal of the season past Khudobin at 8:41. 

But exactly 10 minutes later Houston tied the game with the extra attacker on.  Almond was able to flip a loose puck over the left shoulder of Toivonen at18:41 in traffic for his third goal of the season, set up by Jarod Palmer and DiSalvatore.

In the shootout Rockford managed just one shootout goal from Ivan Vishnevskiy while the Aeros ousted the IceHogs with goals from Casey Wellman and DiSalvatore.

Rockford was outshot 40-28 in the game.  Power-plays were limited on Thursday as Rockford was 0-1 while holding the Aeros to 0-2.

Next Home Game: Wednesday, Dec. 8 vs. Texas Stars. Game time is 6:35 p.m.  The IceHogs kick off a season-high seven-game homestand when the Stars return to the MetroCentre. Wednesday is another Taco Bell Dollar Day presented by WXRX as fans can purchase beer, Vienna Beef hot dogs, soft drinks and companion tickets for just $1.

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