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By: Mike Peck
Petri Kontiola record the Hogs game-winning shootout goal as well as an assist against the Chicago Wolves on Friday. (Photo by Greg Hamil)

Kontiola's sixth-round marker put the Hogs 10 points from a playoff spot

Rockford, Ill.- The Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs have returned to their early-season theme, this time with a twist. Games between the two teams are usually close and tonight the Hogs came out on top 3-2 in a shootout at the Rockford MetroCentre. It was the first shootout and third overtime game between Chicago and Rockford.

In the eight times the Hogs and Wolves have played, the home team has won seven and all but three were one-goal games. And the Hogs got a big game from Wade Flaherty, who was honored before the game for winning his 300th professional game on Monday.

With the game tied at two, Troy Brouwer scored once in the shootout while Petri Kontiola got the puck past Ondrej Pavelec twice. For the Wolves, Jesse Schultz and Joe Motzko each scored.

In the first period, Darren Haydar scored on Flaherty at 1:09 off of assists from Jason Krog and Joe Motzko to put the Wolves up 1-0.

But Jake Dowell responded at 10:36 in the first to tie the game at one. Tyson Marsh and Mike Blunden recorded the assists. The helper was Marsh's first with the IceHogs.

After a scoreless second, Justin Fletcher pushed the puck past Ondrej Pavelec at 9:13 in the third period to put the Hogs up 2-1. Kontiola and Martin St. Pierre recorded the assists.

But the Wolves came back again with a power play goal from Haydar at 15:06. Krog again supplied the assist, as did Motzko. 20 more minutes of scoreless hockey, including a five-minute 4-on-4 overtime, then meant the two teams went to a shootout.

Flaherty continued his strong play of recent with 18 saves, while Pavelec took the loss with 22 saves.

Now with two more games left this weekend, the Hogs are 10 points from ensuring a place in the 2008 Calder Cup playoffs. The team travels to Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday to play the Iowa Stars and then return home Sunday to meet Iowa again.  Chicago clinched a playoff spot on Thursday without even playing.  With Peoria’s 4-2 loss in San Antonio, Chicago became the first West Division team to clinch a playoff birth.  The Wolves currently sit 11 points ahead of Rockford atop the West Division.

Next Home Game:  Sunday, March 28 vs. Iowa Stars.  Game time is slated for 4:05 p.m. The backend of a home-and-home series with Iowa concludes at the MetroCentre.  The first 1,000 fans to the game will pick up the sixth and final IceHogs poster of the season from Pepsi, MedicineMan and Johnson Press.  Sunday is also Family Faith Night at the MetroCentre as the IceHogs, Pepsi, Culver's, 101 WQFL and TV51 welcome the band Anavox.

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