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ROCKFORD TRAMPLED BY RAMPAGE

By: Mike Peck
Photo by Darren Abate
Hogs end first leg of five-game trip with 7-2 loss

San Antonio, Tex.-One team was desperate for a win on Sunday afternoon in San Antonio and it wasn’t the Rockford IceHogs. It showed as the IceHogs were blown out at the AT&T Center 7-2 by the Rampage.

One night after holding the Rampage without a power play, Rockford gave them a season high 10 on Sunday (San Antonio converted two of them). The Rampage committed 53 penalty minutes of their own, most by Francis Lessard (38), the most by an IceHogs opponent.

Sunday’s game featured three goals early in the first period, including two by Rockford. For the second straight contest the IceHogs scored in the first minute of the game and this time it was Bryan Bickell lighting the lamp.  Bickell picked up a Richard Petiot pass and fired home his 14th goal of the season past Josh Tordjman :34 into the game.

Matt Keith came into the game with goals in three straight games against San Antonio and he made it four straight 4:37 into the first frame. On a five-on-three power play, Keith hammered in a Pete MacArthur centering pass for his 18th goal of the season. That’s all Rockford had in the tank, however, on Sunday.

San Antonio responded moments after Rockford’s second power play expired. Kyle Turris hopped out of the penalty box and Jeff Hoggan hit Turris with a pass behind the IceHogs defense and the second year winger shelved his 19th goal of the campaign over the glove of Corey Crawford at 6:33.

With Rockford on another power play, the Rampage would tie the game at 2-2. Hoggan picked up a loose puck at the San Antonio blue line, skated the length of the ice and netted a shorthanded tally at 17:29 of the opening frame for his tenth goal of the year.

In the second period San Antonio grabbed a two goal lead and chased Crawford from the game. Alexandre Picard tallied his first of two markers on the afternoon 1:49 into the middle stanza when he finished off a Brett MacLean centering pass on the power play.

Then at the 4:44 mark Picard struck against when he backhanded a David Spina rebound over Crawford for a 4-2 lead, his 19th goal of the year. That lead was extended at 14:49 when David Schlemko blasted his fourth goal of the season past Hannu Toivonen on the power play.

San Antonio tacked on two more in the third period to finish off the IceHogs. Sasha Pokulok netted his second goal of the season moments after a Rampage power play expired at 11:29 before MacLean knocked in his team-leading 26th tally at 15:13.

Crawford was given the loss after making 13 saves on 17 shots faced while Toivonen stopped 25 of 28 San Antonio attempts. After a rocky start, Tordjman rebounded and made 27 saves.

Next Home Game: Sunday, March. 14 vs. Houston Aeros. Game time is 5:05 p.m. Join in the celebration at the Rockford MetroCentre for Hammy's Birthday. The first 2,500 fans into the arena will receive an IceHogs cereal bowl courtesy of General Mills and WROK. The game is also a WXRX Student Rush Night and fans can get Family Four Packs, including four tickets, four hot dogs, four soft drinks and four popcorns for just $44. Plus, the IceHogs are giving away game-worn jerseys of Bracken Kearns, Mike Brennan, Simon Danis-Pepin, Mark Cullen and Evan Brophey. All jersey winners will be drawn at random and fans can sign up to win at the game.



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