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By: Chris Etheridge
Rockford will enter post season for sixth consecutive season

Rockford, Ill.- The IceHogs will compete in the Calder Cup playoffs for the third straight year after posting a 2-1 win over the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday at the Rockford MetroCentre.

Now they turn to face the Milwaukee Admirals tomorrow at the MetroCentre to close out the home portion of the regular season.  Game time is 7:05 p.m.

"This could be a team we meet in the playoffs some time down the road," center Mark Cullen said of Milwaukee. "We just want to string some wins together so tomorrow is a big game for us."

Left Wing Bryan Bickell beat Lake Erie goalie Tyler Weiman at 2:44 in the first period with assists from Rob Klinkhammer and Shawn Lalonde to give Rockford a 1-0 lead.  It was Bickell's 16th goal of the season.

Then the Hogs added one more to go up 2-0 at 8:45 in the third period when Jake Dowell fed Evan Brophey, who fired in his 14th goal of the season. Danny Bois also figured in on the play.

"It's nice to have this out of the way for sure," Cullen said. "It's a big goal for us to make the playoffs.  It's a good feeling, but we're not going to play any less hard from here on out."

Lake Erie close the lead to one with a late 6-on-5 goal at 17:30 from Justin Mercier.  T.J. Hensick and Brian Willsie had the helpers.

"These types of games get us ready for the playoffs," Cullen said. "Any time you can hold on at the end, it's a good win and says a lot about the character of our team."

Corey Crawford posted his 22nd win of the season, stopping 32 of 33 shots
.  Weiman had 21 saves in the loss.  Rockford was 0-for-5 on the power play, while Lake Erie was without a power play goal in four attempts.

Next Home Game: Saturday, April 3 vs. Milwaukee Admirals. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. The first 2,500 fans to the game will pick an IceHogs Beach Towel from BOB FM and 23-WIFR.

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