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HOGS HANG ON IN HOUSTON, WIN THIRD STRAIGHT

By: Mike Peck
Taffe ties franchise mark with a 15-game point streak

Houston, Tex.- With just two wins in 16 days entering a three-game weekend against the West Divisions’ top three teams, the outlook wasn’t very bright for the Rockford IceHogs. But three days later Rockford skated out of the Toyota Center with their third straight win, capping the weekend with a 3-2 victory over the Houston Aeros on the road to kick off a seven game road swing.

Up 3-1 in late in the third period, Rockford had a golden opportunity to ice the game with a 5-on-3 power play.  It was Houston, though, that capitalized.

Colton Gillies blocked a Jeff Taffe shot and went back the other way on a breakaway. Gillies was able to slipped his ninth goal of the campaign under Hannu Toivonen at 14:30.

Then Houston received their chance on a 5-on-3 power play with 1:46 left in regulation. Toivonen and the IceHogs penalty kill dug in, however, and held the Aeros off the board to preserve the 3-2 win.

Taffe gave Rockford the lead just 11-seconds into the middle period. Off the opening draw, Rockford penetrated the Houston zone and Taffe knocked in a Ryan Potulny rebound for his 22nd goal of the season, extending his point streak to 15-straight games, tying Martin St. Pierre for the longest in franchise history.

Rob Klinkhammer later extended Rockford’s lead to 2-0 at 9:01 of the middle period. Garnet Exelby held in a Houston clear out pass and fired a shot in on Matt Hackett. Klinkhammer was camped out in front and swiped the rebound around the rookie goaltender and in for his 11th goal of the season.

Houston cut the deficit in half with a power-play goal later in the stanza. Casey Wellman snuck a puck through traffic and under Toivonen at 14:15 for his 11th goal of the season.

In the third period Igor Makarov restored Rockford’s two-goal advantage. The winger picked off an Aeros pass in the slot and sniped his seventh goal of the season over the glove shoulder of Hackett at 2:23 of the final frame, the eventual game-winning tally.

Toivonen finished the night with 36 saves and earned the win for Rockford while Hackett was tagged with the loss after making 18 saves.

After dropping their first two games in Week 21, Rockford rebounded to earn just their second three-game winning streak of the season and finish the five-game week 3-2-0-0.

Next Home Game:
Sunday, March 13, vs. Chicago Wolves. Puck drop is at 4:05 p.m. It’s the IceHogs 12th  Annual Jersey Auction game. The Hogs will be wearing special jerseys commemorating first responders. After the game, the jerseys will be auctioned off to fans. Also, the first 2,500 fans to the game will receive a Jersey Auction T-Shirt compliments of WXRX.




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