Pascal Pelletier scored his second hat trick of the season on Saturday against the Chicago Wolves. (Photo by Greg Hamil)
Hogs finish 4-3-0-0 in last nine days
Rockford, Ill.- A goal in each period gave Rockford IceHogs' winger Pascal Pelletier his second hat trick of the season on Saturday's 6-4 win over the Chicago Wolves in front of a sell-out crowd of 5,838 at the Rockford MetroCentre.
Rockford posted four goals in a row, but the Wolves came back to tie it at 4-4 in the second frame.
But then in the third frame, Pelletier broke the tie with the game-winner, his 17th lamp-lighter of the season to lead the IceHogs.
"He's a really highly-skilled forward who can really bang and crash pretty easily," said Winger Jack Skille. "He's one of those guys that can find the back of the net and he's one of those guys who, when he get's the opportunities, he doesn't put it in the goalies chest, he finds the net."
Rob Klinkhammer tacked on his fourth goal in three games on the empty-net for the insurance marker at 19:41.
The Hogs started this week with a win against Chicago, but then lost three straight. They have rebounded with their first three-game winning streak since Oct. 24-Oct. 26.
"Any time you can come out against a team like this after having a rough go for a while like that, it's huge," said Skille, who had a goal and two assists on the night. "Any time you can bounce back especially with two wins like this, it's huge."
The Hogs swept a weekend set against the Wolves to ensure a winning record against the I-90 rivals this season.
In the first, Jamie Rivers put the Chicago Wolves up 1-0 with a power-play goal at 3:37 in the first frame with assists from Junior Lessard and Riley Holzapfel.
Two quick goals from Pelletier and Petri Kontiola gave the IceHogs a 2-1 lead over the Wolves in the second period. Pelletier ended a nine-game goal drought by cleaning up a rebound from a Jack Skille drive. The goal was put past Chicago goaltender Brent Krahn at 13:31 in the first frame.
Moments later Kontiola doubled the score on the IceHogs' second shot of the game at 14:55. Mike Radja and Pete MacArthur were credited with assists.
In the second, Skille took advantage of a power-play opportunity and drove a Pelletier feed past Krahn at 2:56. Defenseman Andrew Archer had an assist. This would be the only power play goal Rockford could muster, going 1 for 5 on the man advantage, improving their season power play numbers to 18.3 percent.
Pelletier and Skille teamed up again later in the period when Pelletier picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and pushed it into Wolves territory. Skille joined the break to create a 2-on-1 situation that would ultimately solve Krahn for the fourth goal of the game. Pelletier flung the Skille dish into the cage for his second tally of the night.
Krahn was relieved midway through the second period by Dan Turple after letting in his fourth goal against the IceHogs. Krahn finished with six saves, while Turple had 12 in 32:05 of ice time.
The Wolves answered Rockford's onslaught with one of their own. Chicago cut the lead to 4-2 when a Alex Brooks blast was tipped in by Spencer Machacek at 15:23 in the second.
Defenseman Zack Bogosian, the #3 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft with Chicago on a conditioning stint, then chipped in a goal against Crawford at 18:36 in the second. Riley Holzapfel and Grant Lewis helped on the power-play marker. Two of Chicago's goals came off of their seven power-play opportunities.
The Wolves evened the game up at 4-4 less than a minute later with a marker from Jordan Lavallee. Lessard was given the assist.
Rockford's Antti Niemi relieved Crawford for the final frame. Crawford turned away 18 shots in the no decision, while Niemi held the Wolves scoreless on 11 shots.
Pelletier's tie-breaking tally gave him a second hat trick in 2008-09 after recording one previously in his AHL career. His first came on Nov. 26 when he netted four goals against the San Antonio Rampage, setting an IceHogs AHL record for goals scored in a game.
Next Home Game: Friday, Jan. 9 vs. Chicago Wolves. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. Another meeting between the IceHogs and Wolves at the MetroCentre. The game is the fourth of five on the season in Rockford eighth of nine between the rivals. The first 2,000 fans to the game will pick up a set of 2008-09 Rockford IceHogs player cards courtesy of ComEd.