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By: Mike Peck
Photo by Mark Newman
Hogs drop fourth straight after 5-2 loss in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, Mich.- Four straight goals by the Grand Rapids Griffins, including three by Chris Minard, sunk the Rockford IceHogs on Friday night in a 5-2 loss at the Van Andel Arena.

The loss was Rockford’s fourth-straight, a season low and marked the first regulation loss against the Griffins in 11 match-ups.

Ryan Potulny gave Rockford a 1-0 first period lead when he tallied his 11th goal of the season on a power play. Potulny knocked in his marker off of a cross-ice feed from Jeff Taffe at 5:30 of the opening frame.

Grand Rapids responded with a four-on-four goal at 10:26 to tie the game at 1-1. On a two-on-one break, Tomas Tatar beat Alec Richards between the pads for his 11th marker of the year, set up by Derek Meech.

Potulny and the IceHogs came right back on the power play to re-establish their lead.  The winger notched his second goal of the game when he redirected a Brian Connelly slap shot past Jordan Pearce at 16:00.

But again Grand Rapids responded to tie the game back up before the break. Illari Filppula banked in his 16th goal while the Griffins skated on the advantage at 19:25 of the opening period.

Power plays continued to excel in the second period as Grand Rapids grabbed a 3-2 lead early in the frame.  Minard picked up a Francis Pare rebound and wrapped it around Richards at 1:22 for his sixth goal of the season.

Minard struck twice more in period three to put the game away. His second tally came at 15:08 when Filppula found him open in front of the Rockford goal, and the winger picked the top left corner of the goal making it 4-2.

His hat-trick tally went into an empty after Filppula made an unselfish pass to his winger who buried his seventh goal of season at 19:25.

Rockford peppered Pearce with a season-high 41 shots but the Griffins backstop turned away 39 of them. Richards stopped 28 shots in the loss.

Next Home Game: Saturday, Jan. 29 vs. Milwaukee Admirals. Game time is slated for 7:05 p.m. A limited number of tickets remain for Rockford’s home tilt against Milwaukee. The first 2,500 fans to the game will receive an IceHogs Winter Hat courtesy of Rasmussen College, FOX 39 and ESPN 1380 AM.

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