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The IceHogs are 3-1-0-0 in their last four home games after a 2-1 win over the Houston Aeros on Sunday at the Rockford MetroCentre. (Photo by Kris Grey)
03/29/2009 11:35 AM

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Rockford gains two points on second-place Houston and Peoria
Rockford, Ill.- In tight races, the playoff picture can become clearer or more blurry with every tick of the clock.

On Sunday at the Rockford MetroCentre it did a little of both.  The Rockford IceHogs picked up two points on their second-place rivals, the Houston Aeros and put a little distance between them and the fifth-place Chicago Wolves with a 2-1 win.

"We all see how close things are in the standings, and we all know how every game counts at this point," said winger Rob Klinkhammer.  "We're just going to bring it all every night."

Forwards Pascal Pelletier and Adam Hobson scored early in the second frame to give the Hogs a big 2-0 lead.

After a scoreless first frame, Pelletier gave the IceHogs the lead at 1:28 in the second, beating Nolan Schaefer with helpers from Rob Klinkhammer and Logan Stephenson.

"I get Pelletier the puck and he just get's it in there on the short side," said Klinkhammer. "It was just pretty to watch."

Then Hobson sent a blast from the corner of the offensive zone past Schaefer with helpers from Pelletier and Danny Groulx at 6:55.
"Hobson just get's a great slap shot off and it takes a bounce and lands in their net.  Sometimes that's going to happen.  Sometimes the bounces go for us, sometimes they go against us  tonight they were in our favor."

The Aeros got a bit of the momentum back with a goal from Morten Madsen at 17:35 in the third period, but the Hogs held off the Aeros for the rest of the final frame for the win.

Antti Niemi, whose pads arrived from San Antonio just 45 minutes before the start of the game, earned his fourth win in five starts (4-0-0-0) on 29 saves.  Nolan Schaefer had 22 saves.

The Hogs power play squad was scoreless in one opportunity, while the Aeros were 0-for-5.

Next Home Game: Saturday, April 4 vs. Milwaukee Admirals. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The Annual Jersey Auction game is finally here as the IceHogs jump into “The Dark Hammy” jerseys to benefit the IceHogs Charitable Foundation. The first 2,000 fans will pick up a commemorative t-shirt courtesy of Saturn, Pepsi, 13 WREX and MedicineMan. Also, don’t miss the Stanley Cup as hockey’s most coveted trophy makes its first visit to the Rockford MetroCentre.

Stanley Cup Fact: The current Stanley Cup has 2,200 different names engraved on it (none more than Jean Beliveau, whose name appears 17 times on the cup – 10 as a player and seven as an executive for the Montreal Canadians).  See the Stanley Cup at the Rockford MetroCentre on April 4.  For tickets call 815-968-5222 or visit