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By: Mike Peck
The Rockford IceHogs fell 5-3 in the final exhibition game before opening night on Oct. 10,

IceHogs close out preseason schedule

Rockford, Ill.- A short two-game preseason slate came to a close for the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday as they fell to the Peoria Rivermen 5-3 at the Rockford MetroCentre. 

It was Rockford’s first loss to Peoria in exhibition since the IceHogs joined the American Hockey League.

The Rivermen nailed down the win by scoring three second-period goals.  Trent Whitfield and Thomas Kana were responsible for Peoria first four tallies of the night, including all three in the second frame.

Whitfield started the scoring just 1:34 into the contest, slipping in his first of two goals of the night past Ryan Nie.  Rockford responded and tied the score in the second frame with a Evan Brophey power-play tally at 2:01.

Peoria then notched three straight markers to grab a 4-1 lead.

Whitfield's second goal of the night at 9:45 of the second period made it 2-1 before Kana pushed the lead to 3-1 at 12:36.  On the same shift Kana scored his second tally of the night, this time at 13:04.

“We could have had a lot more intensity,” said coach Bill Peters. “We were soft on the puck in the offensive zone and that was a little bit disappointing. But after we got on our feet and went to work it was a little bit better of a hockey game.”

In the third period Rockford offense picked up with a pair of lamp-lighters from Adam Hobson around a Nikolay Lemtyugov marker.  Hobson's goals came at 2:20 and 10:39 of the third, both past Ben Bishop.  Lemtyugov beat Joe Fallon at 7:20 of the final frame. 

Despite the loss, Peters said he saw some good things from a couple of players that split time between Rockford and Pensacola (ECHL).

“It’s a good statement for him,” Peters said of Hobson’s two goals. “Both him and Adam Berti, (who) gets in a fight and then his line come back after that and scores two goals.”

Nie made 16 saves on 20 shots faced in the first two frames for the loss, while Fallon played the third period and turned away seven of eight Peoria shots. Bishop went the distance for the Rivermen and made 24 saves in the win.

Next Home Game:
Friday, Oct. 10 vs. Quad City Flames.  Game time is 7:30 p.m. The IceHogs begin its tenth season of professional hockey as the 2008-09 season gets underway.  The first 5,000 fans to the game will receive an IceHogs Magnet Schedule from Dental Dimensions, Speedway Auto Mall, Guerilla Graffix and WTVO.

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