ICEHOGS OFFENSE IGNITES FOR SECOND STRAIGHT WIN

By: Amy Spivey
Photo by Greg Hamil
LeBlanc and Pirri record two goals each in the game

Rockford, Ill.- A four-goal third period propelled the Rockford IceHogs to a 7-3 win over the Peoria Rivermen on Friday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center.  In was the second time in three games against Peoria that the IceHogs notched four goals in the third period.

With the win, the IceHogs earned back-to-back wins for the first time since Rockford opened the 2011-12 season, winning on Oct. 8 and 9.

Tied 3-3 heading into the final frame, Brian Fahey started the IceHogs scoring barrage with his first goal of the season. Rostislav Olesz held the puck in the left corner and found Fahey wide open directly in front of the net, and the d-man blasted a shot past Ben Bishop to give the IceHogs their first lead of the night at the 8:44 mark.

Just over a minute later, Ryan Stanton found Peter LeBlanc open in the slot to the right of Bishop, and the centerman flipped his second tally of the night, and fifth of the season, over the shoulder of the Peoria netminder to push the score to 5-3.

Then, Olesz and Brandon Pirri continued their hot streaks by giving Rockford a three-goal lead at 13:11 in the final frame. Olesz fired a shot from the blue line that Bishop blocked down, but Pirri found the loose puck and slapped it in for his second goal of the night and team-leading tenth goal on the campaign.

Andrew Shaw capped off an explosive third period at the 17:38 mark with a short-handed, empty net goal. Peoria tried to take advantage of a power-play opportunity and pulled Bishop in favor of a 6-on-4 advantage. After thwarting several Peoria scoring attempts, Shaw found himself with the puck in the neutral zone and fired it into the back of the net. It was Rockford’s first shorthanded goal of the season.

Peoria started the game with a tally just 33 seconds into the first period. Jay Barriball carried the puck into the Rockford zone on the left side and sent a cross-ice feed to Phil McRae, who fired a shot past Alexander Salak to give the Rivermen a 1-0 advantage.

Brett Sonne then added to the Rivermen lead at 10:36 in the first period. With heavy traffic in front of the IceHogs goal, Brett Ponich took a shot from the left faceoff circle, and Sonne tipped the shot over the glove of Salak to make it 2-0.

With time winding down in the first period, the IceHogs got one back with a power-play tally. Ben Bishop couldn't corral a Brandon Segal shot and LeBlanc was right there to clean up the rebound at 15:47 bring the IceHogs within a goal.

Then, with 30 seconds left in the opening frame, Shaw rushed the puck up the right side into the Peoria zone and made a pass to Pirri, who ripped a shot past Bishop to tie the game at 2-2 going into the first intermission.

The Rivermen took the lead back with a power-play goal from Shaun Heshka at 11:27 of the middle frame. Mark Cundari hit a hard slapshot from the blue line that Heshka redirected past Salak to make the score 3-2 in favor of Peoria.

The IceHogs struck again with less than 30 seconds left in a period, this time the middle frame. Segal found the puck on the right side of Bishop and fired a shot that bounced behind the Rivermen netminder to tie the game at 3-3. Brian Connelly earned his team-leading 18th assist on the play.

Rockford converted on one of three power-play chances while Peoria scored on one of their five man advantages.

Salak made 24 saves to earn his third win of the season. Bishop turned away 28 shots and was tagged with the loss.  

Next Home Game:
Saturday, Nov. 26 vs. Oklahoma City. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The Barons return to the BMO Harris Bank Center for the second time in 10 days for their final visit to Rockford on the season. Rockford will try to avenge a 5-4 loss handed out by the Barons on Nov. 16.

For every goal that the Rockford IceHogs score in 2011-12, IceHogs head coach Ted Dent will make a donation to children’s cancer research. BMO Harris Bank will also make a donation for every goal to the “BMO Harris Bank Goals For Grades”





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