Rockford, Ill.- An early three goal deficit was too much to overcome as the Rockford IceHogs fell to their new division rival, the Charlotte Checkers, 4-2 at the BMO Harris Bank Center on Sunday.
Charlotte jumped out to the early 1-0 advantage as Jared Staal tallied his first goal of the season. After an IceHogs turnover at the blue line, Justin Soryal dished the puck between his legs for Staal to slip past Alexander Salak at 8:15 in the opening frame.
Then, the IceHogs killed off a penalty but couldn't clear the puck and Charlotte took advantage. Michal Jordan ripped a shot past Salak from the blue line at the 16:01 mark to extend the lead to 2-0.
Charlotte tallied again on a power play when Jerome Samson and Riley Nash took advantage of a 2-on-1 opportunity in the Rockford zone. Samson rushed the net and slid the puck past Salak to push the Checkers lead to 3-0 at 17:53.
Jimmy Hayes put Rockford on the board with his first goal of the season at 3:40 of the middle frame. Philippe Paradis won a battle along the boards behind the Charlotte net and fed a pass to Hayes who tapped it past Mike Murphy to make the score 3-1.
With less than a minute left in the second period, Samson recorded his second goal of the night on a Checkers power play to give the Checkers a three goal lead heading into the second intermission.
The IceHogs tried to mount a comeback in the final frame as Brandon Pirri tallied his third goal of the season at 4:35 to make it 4-2. With traffic in front of the Charlotte net, Pirri found a loose puck and snuck it past Murphy to cut the lead to two.
The IceHogs, however, were held off the board for the rest of the game, dropping their second straight game.
Murphy picked up the win, blocking 28 IceHogs attempts while Salak was tagged with the loss after turning away 29 of the 33 shots he faced.
Rockford failed to convert on all four of their power play chances and Charlotte cashed in on two of their seven opportunities.
Next Home Game: Saturday, Nov. 12 vs. Peoria: The IceHogs host Peoria for the second time in 2011-12 for another Illinois Lottery Cup tilt. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. It’s also Heritage Night at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Before the IceHogs take on the Rivermen, there will be an Alumni game featuring former IceHogs skaters against former Blackhawks. The Alumni game will begin at 4 p.m. Special throwback jerseys will be worn by the alumni and current IceHogs and auctioned off after the game.