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By: Chris Etheridge
Photo by Jason Villanueva

Rockford tallies five third period goals in 6-1 win

Houston, Tex.-Tied 1-1 heading into the third period on Friday night the Rockford IceHogs exploded for five third period goals to knock off the Houston Aeros 6-1 at the Toyota Center in a key West Division showdown. 

The win pushes Rockford two points ahead of Houston for second place in the West Division, tied with the Chicago Wolves.

The IceHogs wasted little time getting the third period barrage rolling.  Just seven seconds into the frame, Pascal Pelletier fired his team-leading 25th goal of the season past Nolan Schaefer for a 2-1 Rockford advantage.  Petri Kontiola set it up with Niklas Hjalmarsson. The goal was the fastest scored to start a period in the Hogs AHL era and second fastest goal scored to start a period in IceHogs history.

Just two seconds after a power play expired, Evan Brophey made it 3-1 when he knocked a Hjalmarsson rebound past Schaefer for his 13th goal of the season at 7:08. Pelletier made it a three goal game finishing off a tick-tack-toe sequence with Kontiola and Tim Brent at 13:12.

Brent added his 19th goal of the season at 17:37 to make it 5-1 and Kontiola finished off the Aeros at 18:09 potting his 14th marker of the season. 

Pelletier finished the third period with four points (2g-2a) and Hjalmarsson finished the game with a career high three helpers.

Adam Hobson put Rockford on top with a goal at 3:22 of the second period. Moments after a power play expired, Hjalmarsson fired a Mike Radja pass that Hobson deflected past Schaefer for his third goal of the season.

Houston got the goal back mid-way the period when Paul Albers skated through the Hogs back checkers and beat Corey Crawford at 10:03 of the frame for his second goal of the season.  John Scott marked an assist on the goal.

Rockford tied an AHL franchise mark allowing just 14 shots on goal.  Crawford blocked 13 of them to earn the win.  Power plays were a non-factor as Rockford finished 0-5 while holding the Aeros to 0-4.

Next Home Game: Friday, March 6 vs. Quad City Flames.  The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.  The IceHogs and Flames meet up in Rockford for the final time in 2008-09.  The first 2,500 kids 14-and under will receive an IceHogs Lunch Tin courtesy of Rock Valley Culligan, Rockford Health Systems and 13 WREX.

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