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By: Fritz Stillings
Photo by Kris Gray

IceHogs penalty kill unit key in victory

Rockford, Ill. – In their first bout in nearly two months, the Rockford IceHogs hung on to nab a 3-1 win over the visiting Peoria Rivermen Friday evening at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

Rockford’s penalty kill unit was put to the test during the first frame, committing four penalties. However the special teams were able to kill off each of the four Peoria power play opportunities.

Nonetheless, IceHogs captain Martin St. Pierre broke a scoreless stalemate 15 minutes into the first frame. In his Rockford debut, Kenndal McArdle dug the puck out of the corner and delivered a cross-ice pass to Ryan Stanton at the right faceoff circle. Stanton wristed the puck on net and found St. Pierre on the doorstep, who tipped it past Peoria goaltender Jake Allen, giving the IceHogs a 1-0 lead.

In the second frame, Rockford extended their lead to 2-0 at the 6:59 mark. Dylan Olsen took a shot from the point for Brandon Pirri to deflect past Allen and for his 11th goal of the season. Philippe Paradis also assisted on the play.

Seven minutes later, Pirri lit the lamp again. Paradis poked the puck out from the corner and found Pirri in front, who backhanded a top-shelf tally to give Rockford a 3-0 advantage.

Peoria would solve IceHogs goaltender Carter Hutton at the 2:34 mark of the third period when Stefan Della Rovere took a shot that trickled over Hutton’s right shoulder and into the back of the net to trim the IceHogs lead into the eventual 3-1 final.

Hutton finished the night with 31 saves, while the special teams unit killed off all five Peoria man-advantages, and have limited the Rivermen to 1-for-20 on the power play thus far this season.

Next Home Game: Saturday, Jan. 19 vs. Grand Rapids at 7:05 p.m. The IceHogs host their 4th annual Pink in the Rink night as they don special pink jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game. The ice surface will also be painted pink. The first 5,000 fans through the gates will receive pink rally towels compliments of Dickerson & Nieman Realtors, Ferrellgas, Metropolitan Title Agency and Rasmussen College.

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