TWO LATE SECOND PERIOD GOALS LIFT ICEHOGS

By: Chris Etheridge
Host has won all seven games between West Division rivals

Rockford, Ill.- The Rockford IceHogs were able to hold on against the Chicago Wolves after a back-and-fourth affair.  The lead changed three times with the Hogs holding on to their 3-2 advantage for the win on Friday at the Rockford MetroCentre.

"Our main thing in the locker room was that we wanted to have a good finish to the first half," said Rockford Right Wing Jack Skille, who finished with a goal and an assist in the game. "Some teams kind of shut down going into the Christmas break, but we didn't want to do that.  We wanted to get these points before we went off to break."

The IceHogs took an early lead thanks to Matt Keith's fourth goal of the season at 7:16 in the first period.  Ryan Flinn and Richard Petiot had the assists.

Then with the Wolves on the power play, Riley Holzapfel found the back of the net at 12:25 to even the score at one.  Kevin Doell and Chris Chelios had the helpers.

Chicago defenseman Arturs Kulda beat Joe Fallon five-hole to put the Wolves up 2-1 at 5:49 in the second period with helpers from Brett Sterling and Johnny Pohl.

"Tonight was a fast-paced game from the start," Skille said. "The Wolves came out really hard and it was a fun game to play in.  What I'm happy with is that everyone stayed with it in the third.  In the past, we've been known to roll at the other team's pace, but we didn't do that tonight."

Still in the second, Skille beat Drew MacIntyre for his eighth goal of the season at 16:45 to even the score again.  Bracken Kearns and Kyle Greentree had the assists.

Then the same line went back to work a couple of minutes later.  Kearns lit the lamp to put Rockford up 3-2 at 19:21 with assists from Petiot and Skille and put the finishing touches on the win.

Rockford's power play went 1-for-5 while Chicago was 1-for-4 on the advantage.  Fallon stopped 36 shots, including 13 saves in a scoreless third period, to pick up his eighth win of the season, while MacIntyre slapped away 33 shots in a losing effort.

"By battling it out like (Fallon) did today,
it shows a lot of character," Skille said. "And he earned a lot of respect from the guys tonight."

Next Home Game: Saturday, Dec. 19 vs. San Antonio Rampage: The game starts at 7:05 p.m. The IceHogs welcome Alex Meraz from The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Meraz will be making a special appearance to the MetroCentre and fans can receive autographs starting at 6 p.m.



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