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By: Mike Peck
Photo by Jason Villaneuva

Skille’s late goal in regulation helps the Hogs earn two points

Houston, Tex.- The power play has not been kind to the Rockford IceHogs since late November, but for the second time in a week it helped gain Rockford two points. After the power play tied the game late in regulation, Rockford and Antti Niemi outlasted the Houston Aeros in a 13-round shootout for a 3-2 win at the Toyota Center.

With the game tied late in the third period, the IceHogs skater on their sixth power play.  Winger Jack Skille picked up a Tim Hambly feed and blasted it past Anton Khudobin, tying the 2-2 at 17:46 for his 20th goal of the season.

Both teams had power-play chances in the overtime but failed to convert.  So the IceHogs and Aeros skated to a shootout.

Neither team tallied in the first four rounds of the shootout but Evan Brophey and Benoit Pouliot did in the fifth frame.  In the sudden death shootout Tim Brent and Krys Kolanos converted in the 11th round before Pete MacArthur gave Rockford the edge with a shootout goal in round 13. 

Niemi then stymied Corey Locke to give Rockford the two points and end the longest shootout in the IceHogs AHL era.

Rockford led 1-0 leading into the third period but the Aeros tallied twice early to take the lead.  Paul Albers snuck his fourth goal of the season, and second against Rockford, through traffic and past Niemi at 1:01 of the final frame tying the game at 1-1.

Later in the period Robbie Earl stepped into a passing lane and picked off a pass and ripped his fifth goal of the campaign in at 3:35 unassisted.

Rob Klinkhammer put Rockford on top with a goal on a delayed penalty in the first period.  Klinkhammer’s initial shot attempt went wide of the Houston goal and the winger picked up the rebound off of the back half wall and backhanded his 14 goal of the season past Khudobin at 9:40.  Tim Hambly and Bryan Bickell assisted the goal.

Both teams were held scoreless in the second period, but it wasn’t for a lack of opportunities.  Both Niemi and Khudobin, however, were up to the task and held their ground.

Niemi made 24 saves to earn the win, plus 11 more in the shootout while Khudobin was  the tough luck loser after blocking 33 Rockford shots.

Next Home Game: Sunday, March 29 vs. Houston Aeros.  Game time is 5:05 p.m.  A quick turnaround for the IceHogs finds them back on home ice on Sunday for the final regular season contest against the Aeros.  Sunday is this season’s final Sunday Fundae. Fans can also help celebrate Hammy’s Birthday with other local mascots and the first 2,000 fans to the game will receive an IceHogs 10th Anniversary Canvas courtesy of Stanley Steemer and Rasmussen College.


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