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By: Mike Peck
Photo by Greg Hamil
01/02/2010 7:51 PM - Hogs drop to 2-0-0-1 against Grand Rapids in 2009-10

Rockford, Ill. -
The Rockford IceHogs found themselves playing in extra hockey for the second straight game but couldn't come away with a victory, falling 5-4 to the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday at the Rockford MetroCentre.

The Hogs came from behind again to force overtime after seeing the Griffins score two straight to push the score to 4-3 in the second period.

Rockford matched Grand Rapids' fourth goal thanks to a power play goal from Kyle Greentree at 18:04 in the second period with helpers from Bracken Kearns and Mark Cullen.

Then after both teams locked down for the third period and overtime, Rockford sent out Kearns, Greentree, Rob Klinkhammer, Cullen and Jack Skille for the shootout but all were turned away by Grand Rapids goaltender Daniel Larsson. Jeremy Williams was the only one to tally for the Griffins as Michael Nylander, Francis Pare and Jan Mursak all took turns on Joe Fallon.

"It almost feels like when we play better teams, we're really going," said Kearns. "But then we have an ability to drop our game when the other team isn't going well."

The Griffins came into Rockford having dropped their previous five games.

Back in the first period, Grand Rapids took the early lead thanks to Mursak at 8:11, his 14th goal of the season, from Francis Lemieux and Andy Delmore.

Then the Hogs took advantage of a slumping Griffins' penalty kill by posting two power play goals in the first.  Bryan Bickell scored his seventh of the season at 16:38 thanks to a dish from Adam Hobson.  Mike Brennan also had an assist.

Kearns posted his eighth of the season in the final second of the period off of assists from Mark Cullen and Daryl Boyle.

The Griffins started off the second period strong with a marker from Pare at :35, picking up a rebound off a shot by Travis Ehrhardt.

But then Matt Keith posted his sixth of the season off a rebound from a Brennan shot at 3:19 to give Rockford the lead back.  Brian Connelly also had an assist.

Grand Rapids evened the score again at three when Patrick Rissmiller deflected a puck into the net at 9:35, chasing Alec Richards from the game.  The netminder finished with 14 saves on 17 shots.

Then Pare tallied his second of the game at 16:26 thanks to helpers from Andy Delmore and Nylander.

Then almost two minutes later, Greentree found the equalizer.

Larsson stopped 25 pucks including all five in the shootout, while Fallon had 19 saves in 35:25 in relief.

"He was really calm back there," Kearns said of Fallon.  "He made some hard saves look pretty easy, but that's not to take anything away from Richie. We kind of hung him out to dry on some of those goals."

Rockford finished 3-for-8 on the power play and the IceHogs held one of the league's top power plays 0-for-5.

Next Home Game: Wednesday, Jan. 6 vs. Toronto Marlies. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The IceHogs take on the Marlies for the second and final time in 2009-10. It’s a Golden Goal Wednesday, so if the IceHogs score a goal with 9:10 left on the clock in the third period, one lucky fan will win $10,000. It is also WXRX Student Rush night, and all high school and college students with a valid student ID can purchase the best available seat for just $10 at the MetroCentre’s box office up to one hour before the game.

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