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CLENDENING BLASTS ROCKFORD PAST IOWA

By: Mike Peck
Photo by Greg Hamil
02/15/2014 12:49 PM -

Hogs run point streak to six straight

Des Moines, Iowa-  Behind their red hot offense, the Rockford IceHogs knocked off the Iowa Wild 5-3 on Saturday in a key Midwest Division game at the Wells Fargo Arena.

The win runs Rockford's point streak to six straight contests (5-0-0-1) and gives Rockford a six point cushion on the Wild, who have five games in hand on Rockford. These two teams meet again on Sunday afternoon in Des Moines.  Over their last five games, Rockford has scored 28 goals.

Rockford grabbed the lone first period goal on Saturday, late in the opening frame. Jeremy Morin drove the Iowa net in transition and found Pierre Marc Bouchard in front where he flipped in his seventh goal of the season and first with Rockford, over Johan Gustafsson at 18:27.

The assist extended Morin's point streak to six-straight games.

In the second period, Bouchard set up Rockford's second marker with another transition rush. The veteran winger found Mark McNeill  on the wing and the rookie beat Gustafsson for his 15th of the year.

Iowa came right back to make it a 2-1 contest. Bouchard had a puck hop over his stick at the Rockford blue line and Eric Haula walked into the IceHogs zone and beat Jason LaBarbera five hole at 3:24.

Rockford moved it to a 3-1 game with good offensive zone pressure at 12:25 of the middle frame. Terry Broadhurst's shot was knocked down in front and Alex Broadhurst was there to pot his 12th of the season.

On a power play, the IceHogs had an opportunity to make it a 4-1 game, but it was the Wild who scored, swinging the momentum in their favor. LaBarbera misplayed a puck behind the Rockford goal and Haula found Stephane Veilleux in front of the Rockford goal where he buried the short handed tally at 13:17.

Still with the momentum, Justin Mercier and the Wild tied the game. Mercier's initial shot was blocked away by LaBarbera, but the winger picked up the rebound behind the goal line and banked in his second tally of the season at 17:10 of the middle frame.

After killing off their lone penalty midway through the third period, Rockford snagged  the lead back. Brandon Pirri dropped a pass back to Adam Clendening and the d-man blasted his seventh goal of the season over the shoulder of Gustafsson at 12:44.

With Gustafsson on the bench, Rockford iced the game when Brad Winchester dumped a Garret Ross pass into the empty Iowa goal at 19:28 making it 5-3.

Next Home Game: Friday, Feb. 21 vs. Chicago Wolves. Opening face-off is set for 7 p.m. at the BMO Harris Bank Center as the Wolves return to Rockford for a second consecutive Friday night matchup. The first 2,500 fans to the BMO will receive an IceHogs water bottle courtesy of Rock Valley Culligan.



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