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ROCKFORD OVERCOMES THREE-GOAL DEFICIT TO EARN A POINT

LeBlanc nets two markers in 4-3 shootout loss in Charlotte

Charlotte, N.C.-A sluggish start had the Rockford IceHogs down 3-0 against the Charlotte Checkers on Thursday, but the IceHogs were able to steal a point from the Midwest Division leaders at the Time Warner Cable Arena in a 4-3 shootout loss.

Rockford climbed on the board 1:01 before the second intermission to start their comeback. Peter LeBlanc batted his 12th goal of the season past John Muse off a Rositisalv Olesz rebound to make it 3-1 Charlotte after two periods.

LeBlanc struck again for Rockford in the third period to pull the IceHogs within a goal. The second-year winger out-raced the Checkers defense to a loose puck in the Charlotte zone and he flipped his second goal of the night over Muse at 7:32 to make it 3-2.

With just 1:30 remaining in regulation, Brandon Pirri would tie the game and force extra hockey. Brandon Segal fed Pirri over the Checkers line and Pirri ripped his 19th tally of the season over the glove of Muse.

After a scoreless overtime, Charlotte picked up goals from Drayson Bowman, Chris Terry and Matthew Pistilli to out distance the IceHogs who had tallies from Brandon Bollig and Olesz in the shootout.

Entering Thursday’s game, Rockford had killed off 27 straight penalties, but the Checkers made quick work of that streak. Riley Nash tipped in a Drayson Bowman centering feed 5:46 into the first period to put Charlotte up 1-0 on the power play.

In the second period the Checkers made it 2-for-2 on the advantage as the same combo hooked up to give Charlotte a 2-0 lead. Bowman set Nash up for a one-timer from on top of the left face-off circle and the centerman buried his second goal of the night at 2:59.

Another second-period power play strike extended Rockford’s deficit to 3-0. Zac Dalpe tipped a Zach Boychuk pass under Carter Hutton at 8:57 of the second frame for his tenth goal of the season.

Hutton made 26 saves in the shootout loss while Muse turned away 29 Rockford shots to pick up the win. The two teams will engage in a rematch in Charlotte on Friday as three of the five games head-to-head this season have finished in a shootout.

Next Home Game: Saturday, Jan. 28 vs. Milwaukee Admirals: The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. Rockford and Milwaukee meet up once again at the BMO Harris Bank Center for the IceHogs Annual Pink in the Rink Night. The ice will be pink and the IceHogs will be wearing special pink jerseys that will be auctioned off to benefit breast cancer research and awareness. 

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”