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LEBLANC, ICEHOGS OUTLAST BARONS 6-5

By: Mike Peck
Photo by Steven Christy
01/02/2011 11:43 AM - Hogs hang on for first win over Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City- For the second time in three games between the Rockford IceHogs and Oklahoma City Barons the final score was 6-5. This time, however, it was the IceHogs coming out on top, slipping by the Barons at the Cox Convention Center. OKC topped Rockford by that same score in overtime on Dec. 11 in Rockford.

After three combined goals on Saturday, the IceHogs and Barons totaled four goals in the first period Sunday. Rockford got the first one at 7:58 of the opening frame when Ivan Vishnevskiy cleaned up a Kyle Beach rebound for his third goal of the season.

Oklahoma City came back and tallied the next two to grab a 2-1 lead. Liam Reddox was able to poke in his own rebound past Alec Richards to put the Barons on the board at 10:30, tying the game at 1-1. Teemu Hatikainen then sniped home his 11th goal of the season when he snapped off a pass from Linus Omark on the power play at 16:37.

The IceHogs responded on the next shift after Hartikainen’s marker to tie the game back up. In transition, Beach was credited with his sixth goal of the year when his shot hit Barons goalie Martin Gerber and deflected in off of Johan Motin at 17:16. Peter LeBlanc and Brian Connelly assisted on the goal.

Ryan Potulny gave Rockford a 3-2 lead in the second period with a 4-on-3 power play goal. Potulny knocked in a Mathis Olimb rebound past Gerber at 7:36 of the middle frame for his eighth goal of the season.

The lead wouldn’t last as the Barons capitalized on a failed Rockford attempt to clear their zone. Chris Vandevelde picked up a Greg Stewart rebound and buried his sixth goal of the season past Richards at 12:36.

Just over a minute later Rockford converted on another Gerber rebound to reclaim the lead before the second intermission. Ben Smith tallied his seventh goal of the season when he cashed in on a Kyle Hagel rebound at 13:59 of the second period, giving Rockford the 4-3 edge.

Evan Brophey gave Rockford a two-goal lead in transition at 5:41 of the third period. Brophey picked up a Brandon Pirri pass and fired his fifth goal of the season past Gerber making it 5-3.

The lead was reduced again by Oklahoma City with another Reddox marker. Just seven-seconds into a power play, Reddox redirected a Jake Taylor slap shot from the left point over the shoulder of Richards at 6:42, making it 5-4.

LeBlanc, however, would come through again with another big goal for Rockford. Klinkhammer found LeBlanc in the slot and the rookie winger blasted his sixth goal of the season past Gerber to restore Rockford’s two-goal cushion at 10:16 of the final frame.

Rockford needed the insurance because a late penalty put the Barons on the power play. Taylor Chorney’s shot from the point was deflected past Richards and in at 19:34 making it 6-5.

Oklahoma City couldn’t get the puck back in to the Rockford zone in the final 26 seconds with the extra attacker on and the IceHogs skated away with their first victory over the Barons this season.  

Rockford outshot the Barons 36-35 and Richards outlasted Gerber to earn the win. The IceHogs went 1-4 on the power play while the Barons finished 3-7.

Next Home Game: Friday, Jan. 7 vs. Toronto Marlies:  Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. Rockford returns home for the first time in 2011 for their annual home tilt against Toronto. The game is the first of two on the campaign with the Marlies.



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