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By: Mike Peck
Photo by Mark Newman
Hogs head into break on a five-game point streak

Grand Rapids, Mich.-Tired, beat up and in desperate need for a break, the Rockford IceHogs outlasted the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-3 on Sunday at the Van Andel Arena.  Rockford heads into a much needed AHL All-Star Break with the most games played (47) in the league and finished off eight games in 12 days with a record of 5-2-0-1.

Tied 3-3 in the third period, center Jake Dowell put Rockford up midway through. Dowell picked up a Danny Bois shot and shoved in his fourth goal of the season past Daniel Larsson for the eventual game-winning tally at 10:02. It was the only blemish on Larsson’s record on Sunday as he replaced Jordan Pearce after the first period and turned away 26 of 27 Rockford shots faced.

The first 7:27 of the opening frame Sunday featured four goals. Michael Nylander began the scoring just :51 into the contest when he knocked a Mattias Ritola pass past Joe Fallon for his second goal of the season.

Mark Cullen tied it when he redirected a Brian Connelly blast from the point on the power play at 4:02 of the opening frame. Kyle Greentree also assisted on the goal. Jack Skille then gave Rockford the 2-1 lead he beat Pearce five-hole for his 15th goal of the season set up by Bracken Kearns and Richard Petiot at 6:06.

Grand Rapids responded when Kris Newbury picked up a funny bounce in the Rockford zone and slipped his eighth goal of the season past Fallon at 7:27.  

Just before the first intermission, Greentree picked Pearce’s pocket behind the Griffins goal and wrapped his 15th goal of the season into the open Grand Rapids net unassisted at 19:56.  

Jakub Kindl tied the game at 3-3 in the second period with a blast from the point. Kindl picked up a Francis Pare pass at the left point and snuck his third goal underneath the cross bar at 11:31.

The IceHogs (1-6) netted the only power-play goal of the game while holding the Griffins (0-3) at bay. Rockford outshot the Griffins 41-30 in the contest and with the win, the IceHogs have now picked up points in five straight games (4-0-0-1).

Next Home Game: Saturday, Jan. 23 vs. Grand Rapids Griffins. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The IceHogs welcome the Griffins back to the MetroCentre for the second time this season. The first 2,500 fans into the building will receive an IceHogs fleece blanket courtesy of Lonnie’s Carpet Max. Fans are also encouraged to bring their skates to skate with the Hogs after the game.

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