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By: Amy Spivey
Photo by Greg Hamil
Rockford, Ill.- Despite two goals with less than two minutes left in regulation, the Rockford IceHogs could not mount enough of a charge and were knocked off 4-3 to the Lake Erie Monsters on Wednesday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

Down 4-1, the Hogs tried to mount a comeback late in the game as Dylan Olsen buried his fourth marker of the season past Gerald Coleman at 18:13 to make it 4-2. Jimmy Hayes and Peter LeBlanc picked up assists on the play.

Then with the IceHogs on a power play and Hutton off the ice in favor of the extra attacker, Ben Smith fed Hayes and the big winger lit the lamp to pull Rockford to within a goal at 19:42. The IceHogs kept the extra attacker on the ice for the remainder of the game but time ran out and Rockford dropped the contest, snapping their season-long four-game home winning streak.

After a scoreless first period, the Monsters jumped out to a 2-0 lead with two tallies in the middle frame.

First, Lake Erie converted on a 3-on-1 opportunity just 1:31 into the second period. David Liffiton started a rush into the IceHogs zone and dished the puck to Ryan Stoa. The Lake Erie centerman then made a cross-ice pass to Mark Olver, who fired the puck into a wide open net to give the Monsters a 1-0 lead.

Then, at the 12:50 mark, Justin Mercier gave Lake Erie a two goal lead. Brad Malone picked up the puck inside the IceHogs zone and found Mercier open right in front of the net, and the winger made a move around Carter Hutton to push the score to 2-0.

A few minutes later, Smith cut the Monsters’ lead in half with a power play tally. Smith picked up a pass from LeBlanc, and the second-year winger tucked his 13th goal of the season passed Coleman to make it a 2-1 game.

The Monsters added to their lead in the third period with another pair of goals to open the frame. The IceHogs were able to kill off the first penalty of a 5-on-3 advantage but with six seconds left in the second minor, Patrick Rissmiller fired a pass for Evan Brophey to tap in his 13th goal of the season.

Lake Erie then made it 4-1 at 10:47 in the final 20 minutes when Brad Malone picked up a hard shot off the back boards from Danny Richmond and slipped it under Hutton.

Coleman earned his fifth win on the campaign after turning away 40 Rockford chances, while Hutton was handed the loss as he made 28 saves.

Rockford converted on two of their five power play chances and held Lake Erie to 1-for-4 on the man advantage.

Next Home Game: Friday, Feb. 10 vs. Chicago Wolves. Rockford and Chicago meet for the ninth time this season and the first of back-to-back contests between the Midwest Division rivals at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. It is also an Illinois Lottery Cup game. IceHogs fans can purchase a Family Four Pack for the game, which includes four tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas for just $49.

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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