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FIVE STRAIGHT GOALS LEAD ROCKFORD OVER CHECKERS

By: Mike Peck

Hogs grab 5-2 win in Charlotte

Charlotte, N.C.- For the second straight game, the Rockford IceHogs dug themselves a 2-0 hole and for the second straight contest they were able to overcome it. On Saturday, Rockford topped the Charlotte Checkers 5-2 at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

In the second frame, with Rockford down 2-0, Martin St. Pierre and the IceHogs began the comeback. Jimmy Hayes won a puck battle in the Checkers corner and fed St. Pierre in the slot where the center blasted home his sixth goal of the season at 4:37.

The IceHogs tied the game 2-2 at 6:48 on another pretty setup. This time, Jeremy Morin found Brandon Saad on the doorstep and the rookie winger tipped home his fifth goal of the season past Justin Peters.

A five-on-three power play gave Rockford the lead at 9:41 of the middle frame. Ben Smith tipped a Brandon Pirri pass past Peters at 9:41 for his eighth goal on the campaign. The goal would end up being the game winner, Smith's second in as many games on a redirection on the power play.

St. Pierre put Rockford up 4-2 at 15:35 with a breakaway tally. Hayes sprung St. Pierre up the left boards and the center beat Peters for his second lamp lighter of the game.

In the third period, Morin extended Rockford's lead with a power-play goal. Marcus Kruger spotted the winger in front where he buried his team best ninth goal of the season at 10:28 of the final stanza.

For the second-straight game Rockford gave up an early goal to fall behind 1-0. Brett Bellamore snuck a marker through traffic and past Carter Hutton for his first goal of the season at 1:57.

Rockford's first test against the AHL's top ranked power play didn't satisfy as Charlotte extended their lead to 2-0 later in the frame. Zach Boychuck picked up a Marc-Andre Gragnani pass, skated around the IceHogs defense and beat Hutton glove side at 11:26.

That was the only power-play goal Rockford allowed, however, as they held the Checkers to 1-4. For the third straight game the IceHogs tallied twice on the man advantage, going 2-6.

Rockford outshot the Checkers 38-36 as Hutton stopped 34 chances to earn the win.

Next Home Game:
  Friday, Dec. 7 vs. Milwaukee Admirals: Game time is 7:05 p.m. The Admirals and IceHogs meet for the second time this season, both so far at the BMO Harris Bank Center.  The Midwest Division rivals will faceoff a total of 12 times this season, including five times in December.



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