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By: Nate Haeni
Photo by Kris Gray.
Rockford, Ill.-  A three goal lead was large enough for the Rockford IceHogs as they held on to beat the Chicago Wolves 3-2 at the Rockford MetroCentre on Wednesday.

"We started off great early," said defenseman Richard Petiot. "We came out flying and then we kind of let up in the second and third."

Rockford's hottest line combination posted two goals in the first period.  Winger Kyle Greentree finished off a nice give-and-go play from Bracken Kearns to put the IceHogs on the board first at 11:38. Jack Skille also figured in for an assist on the play.

Then Skille sniped one over Peter Mannino's shoulder at 14:11 to give the IceHogs a 2-0 lead. Kearns and Jassen Cullimore were credited with helpers.

With two minutes left in an otherwise quiet second period, Bryan Bickell scored on a two-on-two breakaway to stretch the Hogs' lead to three.  Petiot and Pete MacArthur were given with the assists.

The Wolves solved Joe Fallon on the power play for their first goal of the game in the third period.  Nathan Oystrick notched his first of the season at 7:48, set up by Brett Sterling and Tim Stapleton.

The goal ended a 141:33 scoreless streak of the Wolves at the MetroCentre dating back to Oct. 16.

"We're really close, we're only an hour away," Petiot said of the hard-fought Wolves-IceHogs battles. "It's a good rivalry.  We're fighting for spots in the standings so every point is huge."

Then Sterling fired one past Fallon at 12:35 to bring the Wolves back within reach.  Grant Lewis and Chris Chelios figured in with assists. But that's all Chicago could muster.

"We needed to keep playing our game," Petiot said. "But our forwards did an awesome job down low late.  We just need to carry it through for 60 minutes."

Chicago was 1-for-4 on the power play and Rockford was 0-for-3 on the advantage.  Fallon picked up a win on 24 saves, while Mannino stopped 27 pucks.

Next Home Game: Saturday, Dec. 5 vs. Lake Erie Monsters: The puck drops at 7:05 p.m.  The first 2,500 fans to the game will get an IceHogs Jersey Bag courtesy of Rockford Orthopedic, BOB FM and 23-WIFR. The game also marks the IceHogs annual Teddy Bear Toss for charity.  IceHogs fans are invited to bring out a new stuffed animal and after the IceHogs score their first goal fans can then throw the stuffed animals onto the ice.  The stuffed animals will get collected and delivered to local charities by IceHogs players and staff members to brighten the holidays for some underprivileged kids.

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