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McNeill’s two goals not enough for IceHogs

Rockford, Ill. – One streak had to come to an end on Friday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center, and it was the San Jose Barrucada (18-10-3-3) who claimed a 5-2 victory to end the Rockford IceHogs (22-10-2-3) three-game winning streak and continue their own eight game unbeaten streak.

The loss snapped three separate streaks for the IceHogs who had won five-straight games against the Pacific Division along with three-straight games overall and three consecutive contests on home ice. Forward Mark McNeill carried the load offensively for the IceHogs, tallying two goals on four shots.

Rockford got off to a good start after McNeill put the home squad in front at 7:30 of the opening period. Marko Dano dropped the puck off for McNeill at the top of the faceoff circle and the centerman cranked in his sixth goal of the season.

The lead didn’t last long for Rockford, however. Just 34 seconds later Petter Emanuelsson put the visiting Barracuda on the board and knotted the game at 1-1.

San Jose continued to keep up the pressure before taking a 2-1 advantage at 11:33 in the first. Bryan Lerg slipped a backhander that Mark Visentin kicked away but Lerg tracked down the rebound and fired it to the back of the net.

The IceHogs came out of the first break and tied the game just 1:01 into the second frame. Garret Ross carried the puck at the point before firing a cross-ice pass to setup McNeill for a one-timer and he hammered home his second goal of the game which evened the score at 2-2.

Still carrying momentum from the tying goal, the IceHogs turned in a stellar penalty kill on their first penalty of the night. But after both teams returned to full strength, San Jose regained the one-goal advantage on a tally from Trevor Parkes. Centerman Scott Timmins, stationed below the IceHogs goal line, fed Parkes in the slot for a one-timer that made its way past Visentin to put the Barracuda into a lead they wouldn’t surrender.

Rockford tried to tie it up again, using a man advantage just past the midway point in second to fire away at San Jose netminder Troy Grosenick. McNeill, Ross, and Vince Hinostroza all generated scoring chances but were unable to break through and find the equalizer.

In the third period, it was the Barracuda’s turn for a quick strike. Working with a carry over power play from the second, Ryan Carpenter and Micheal Haley raced in on a breakaway that Haley finished off 1:19 into the final frame to double the lead.

Jeremy Langlois padded the Barracuda lead when he tacked on his eighth goal of the season 6:04 into the third.

The IceHogs tried to climb out of the hole in the later stages of the game when Marko Dano fed Tanner Kero but his shot ricocheted off the cross bar. Grosenick stood tall the rest of the way for San Jose, making 33 stops in all. Visentin finished with 27 saves but found himself on the losing end.

Next Home Game: Saturday, Jan. 16 vs. Stockton Heat at 7 p.m. Stockton makes their first ever trip to Rockford for Pink in the Rink. The BMO Harris Bank Center ice is painted pink and the IceHogs are wearing pink jerseys for breast cancer awareness. Pink LED batons will be given to the first 2,500 fans courtesy of Swedish American Hospital.