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Photo by Greg Hamil
Rockford, Ill.- Down three goals late in period two, the Rockford IceHogs battled back against the Oklahoma City Barons to extend their point streak to five-straight games (2-0-1-2) in a 6-5 overtime loss at the Rockford MetroCentre on Saturday night.

The IceHogs found themselves in a 5-2 hole when they started to mount a comeback.  Late in the second period, Mathis Olimb handled the puck around the Barons’ net and passed it to an open Peter LeBlanc at the right face-off circle.  LeBlanc notched his second goal in three games top shelf making it 5-3 at 16:47. 

In the third period, Ryan Potulny found an open Shawn Lalonde streaking down the right boards and the rookie defenseman blasted one past the glove of Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers top shelf to make it 5-4 at 11:06.  Taffe factored in on the play picking up an assist.

Minutes later, Rockford tied the game at 5-5.  Brian Connelly deeked around the Barons forecheck in the neutral zone and then sent a pass up to Potulny.  Potulny gained the lined and dropped a pass to Taffe, and he fired a slapshot past Drouin-Deslauriers at 13:26.

The IceHogs and Barons headed to overtime where Teemu Hartikainen scored the game winner for Oklahoma City which ended Rockford’s comeback.  Shawn Belle launched a shot on Alec Richards which resulted in a battle in front of the net for the loose puck.  Hartikainen found the puck and threw it in the back of the net for the 6-5 win at 1:59 in the overtime period.

Oklahoma City got on the board first in the first period on Saturday.  The IceHogs were on the power play when a mishap at the blue line led to a Barons shorthanded goal.  Mican Kytnar tipped an errant IceHogs pass to Liam Reddox who beat Hannu Toivonen on a breakaway at 15:51 in the first period.

Later on the same power play, Olimb made it rain 1,215 teddy bears.  Lalonde fired the puck hard on the net which resulted in a rebound let out by Drouin-Deslauriers and Olimb slapped in his third goal of the season to even the contest 1-1 at 17:04. Olimb has now notched three goals in his last three contests. 

Oklahoma City jumped ahead of the IceHogs to start the second period.  Potulny fanned on a pass which gave the Barons a two-on-one opportunity going across the IceHogs blue line.  Greg Stewart found a wide open Chris Vandevelde and he chipped it in to make it 2-1 at 0:28.

The Barons capitalized on another IceHogs miscue adding to their lead.  Rockford defenseman Ryan Stanton lost his edge in his own end and Colin McDonald picked up the loose puck and finished off another breakaway extending the lead to 3-1 at 6:09.

Oklahoma City added to their two goal lead shortly after.  Dave Bonk drove down the right boards and threw the puck across ice.  Hartikainen had a step on Rockford’s defense and tapped it in to make it 4-2 at 6:51. 

Rockford Battled back to cut the lead in half after another Drouin-Deslauriers rebound.  Rob Klinkhammer fired the puck on net and Drouin-Deslauriers couldn’t cover the puck.  Ben Smith scored back-handed it in glove side for his fifth goal of the season to make it 4-2 at 8:16.   Nick Leddy was also credited with a helper. 

The Barons answered right back with another goal.  Jeff Petry fired a shot past Toivonen low blocker side at 14:13 to make it 5-2 and ending Toivonen’s night. He was replaced by Alec Richards. 

Drouin-Deslauriers picked up the win after turning away 30 Rockford shots.  Richards was saddled the loss after stopping nine shots.  Toivonen finished with 12 saves on 17 shots faced.

The IceHogs power play went 1-for-5 while the Barons went 0-for-3.  Taffe recorded two points on the night and extended his point streak to five games (1G-6A).

Next Home Game: Wednesday, Dec. 15 vs. Chicago Wolves.  Puck drop is at 6:35 p.m.  Dollar Days are back again at the MetroCentre.  Fans can enjoy dollar Bud Select drafts, Vienna Beef hot dogs, Pepsi Products and companion tickets courtesy of Taco Bell and WXRX.

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