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ROCKFORD COMES UP SHORT AGAINST RIVERMEN

Photo by Greg Hamil
12/16/2011 7:05 PM - Rockford, Ill.- In their last two games with the Peoria Rivermen, the Rockford IceHogs have posted 93 shots on goal, but skated away with only four goals to show for it. The IceHogs recorded two goals on 44 shots Friday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center, falling 5-2 to the Rivermen.

Rockford got on the board first with a power-play tally from Brian Connelly. With five seconds remaining on the power play, Connelly fired a shot from the blue line that blew past Jake Allen to give the IceHogs a 1-0 lead at 15:04 of the first period. Brandon Pirri and Peter LeBlanc factored in with the assists.

The goal was Connelly’s second against the Rivermen this season and third overall. The defenseman has 23 points (3g-20a) on the season with 12 coming in eight games against the Rivermen.

Peoria tallied early in the middle frame to tie the game at 1-1. Derek Nesbitt fired a shot that Alec Richards blocked down, but Jonathan Cheechoo tapped in the rebound to put the Rivermen on the board at 4:59.

Then, at the 13:55 mark, Cheechoo made a pass to Nesbitt on the power play, and Nesbitt tipped the puck behind Richards to give Peoria a 2-1 lead.

Tyler Shattock put Peoria up 3-1 with less than a minute left in the second period. Shattock finished off a nice sequence of passes from Adam Cracknell and Brett Sterling at 19:03 to put Peoria up by two goals.

Brandon Pirri pulled the IceHogs within one at the start of the final frame. The centerman carried the puck into the Peoria zone and blasted his team-leading 11th goal of the season past Allen at 1:40 to make it a 3-2 game. The goal now gives Pirri points in four straight contests (1g-5a).

The Rivermen, however, came right back to regain a two-goal lead at 7:08 remaining in the game. Brennan Evans shot the puck wide of the net, and it bounced off the back boards and onto the stick of Chase Polacek, who sent it to the back of the net to give Peoria a 4-2 lead.

With 1:30 left to play, the IceHogs pulled Richards in favor of the extra attacker, but Anthony Nigro tallied an empty net goal with less than 10 seconds left to give Peoria a 5-2 win.

Rockford converted on one of their four power play opportunities, while Peoria cashed in on one of two chances.

Richards made 26 saves in the loss, while Allen turned away 42 IceHogs shots to earn the win.

Next Home Game: Saturday, Dec. 17 vs. Milwaukee. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The Rockford IceHogs host their division rivals for the first time this season. It’s also the first bobblehead giveaway of the season, with the first 2,500 fans receiving a collector’s edition Rob Klinkhammer bobblehead thanks to U.S. Cellular.

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”