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MAYER STYMIES ROCKFORD AS HOGS FALL 3-1

By: Mike Peck
Photo by Greg Hamil
Morin notched lone goal in loss to Bulldogs

Rockford, Ill.-  Outshooting doesn’t man outscoring. Despite outshooting the Hamilton Bulldogs 36-19, the Rockford IceHogs dropped a 3-1 decision at the BMO Harris Center on Tuesday.

Hamilton netminder Robert Mayer was solid in net, turning away 35 Rockford shots and the IceHogs were held to just one power-play goal on seven chances. Down 2-1 late in the third period, Rockford had a chance on the power play, but Hamilton iced the game with an empty net goal from Gabriel Dumont at 18:58.

Brian Willsie put the Bulldogs up 1-0 halfway through the opening frame after Joonas Nattinen won a battle for the puck along the boards in the Rockford zone. Nattinen found Willsie open near the right faceoff circle, and the winger fired his 11th goal of the season past Carter Hutton to give Hamilton the lead at 8:37 of the first.

Five minutes into the middle frame, Hamilton increased their advantage with a power-play tally from Nattinen. Willsie and Alexander Avtsin set up the centerman, who rifled a one-timer that beat Hutton to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 advantage.

Rockford then cut Hamilton’s lead in half with a 5-on-3 power-play goal at the 9:55 mark of the second period. After several good scoring chances, Jeremy Morin finally elevated the puck above a sprawling Mayer and in to make it a 2-1 game. Matt Fornataro and Philippe Paradis earned helpers on the play.

With the loss, Rockford fell back to the .500 mark and failed to gain ground in the Western Conference playoff race. Hutton was tagged with a loss after turning away 16 Hamilton shots.

Next Home Game: Friday, March 23 vs. Houston Aeros. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m. for the first of back-to-back contests between Rockford and Houston at the BMO Harris Bank Center and the second of three meetings between the two teams in a nine-day span. The first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive an IceHogs water bottle sponsored by Rock Valley Culligan and 97ZOK.



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