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By: Fritz Stillings
Photo by Greg Hamil

Rockford, Ill. – In their first of five December contests with the Milwaukee Admirals, the Rockford IceHogs rallied back to score four goals in the third period to snag a 5-3 victory Friday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

Trailing 3-1 heading into the final frame, the Hogs began to cut into Milwaukee’s lead while on their third power play of the evening.  At the 6:19 mark, Adam Clendening passed cross-ice to Nick Leddy at the point, who one-timed a slap shot over Jeremy Smith’s right shoulder to bring the score to 3-2. Brandon Pirri also assisted on the play, but it was a Ben Smith screen that factored in on the goal.

The Hogs continued the comeback six minutes later with Ben Smith in front of the net on yet another power play. Clendening fired a shot into traffic that Ben Smith deflected past the Milwaukee goaltender to even the score at three a piece.

It didn’t take long for the Hogs to break the tie. Just 39 seconds later and with Rockford on a 3-on-2 break, Andrew Shaw dropped off a pass to Martin St. Pierre, who tipped a cross-ice pass for Pirri to deposit in the Milwaukee net and give the IceHogs the 4-3 lead.

In a desperate effort to comeback, Milwaukee pulled Jeremy Smith, but Ben Smith was able to pick-off a pass in the Rockford zone and find St. Pierre streaking down the ice and close out the contest, 5-3, with the empty-net tally. Rockford has now recorded a league-best 33 third period goals on the campaign.

The IceHogs struck first in the opening frame when forward Rob Flick snapped a wrist shot past the Milwaukee goaltender for his second goal of the season, putting the Hogs up 1-0 at the 9:13 mark. Peter LeBlanc and Shawn Lalonde notched the helpers on the play.

The middle frame favored Milwaukee, as the Admirals tacked on three goals in a span of 4:47.

The scoring flurry began at the 11:44 mark when Michael Latta tipped in a Ryan Ellis shot from the point to even the score at one a piece. Less than three minutes later, Gabriel Bourque one-timed a Mark Van Guilder pass over IceHogs goaltender Carter Hutton to give Milwaukee their first lead of the night, 2-1. Victor Bartley padded the Admirals lead when he squeaked in his second goal of the season at 15:31 to give Milwaukee the 3-1 edge.

The Hogs converted on two of four power play attempts and are now 14-of-44 on the man advantage over their last nine games. Hutton made 21 saves in the winning effort, including all 12 in the final frame.

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