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By: Nate Haeni
Photo by Kris Gray
Rockford, Ill.- In a game that saw everything from heavy hits to deficits erased, the Rockford IceHogs beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 4-3 in overtime on Friday night to win their third-straight home contest for the first time this season.

In the third frame, the Bulldogs erased a two-goal deficit to send the game into the overtime session. Nigel Dawes redirected a Frederic St. Danis shot from the blue line under Hannu Toivonen's pads to make it 3-2 at 14:09.

Just 43 seconds later Hamilton tied the game at 3-3. Dustin Boyd intercepted the Hogs clear out attempt and put a puck in on Toivonen. Andreas Engquist, standing in the slot, tipped the rebound through traffic to beat Toivonen top-shelf at 14:52.

After seeing the momentum swing the opposite way, the IceHogs found a way to finish Hamilton off. Under two minutes into overtime, Peter LeBlanc fed Jeff Taffe and he slipped the game-winning tally under Drew MacIntyre to give Rockford a 4-3 win at 1:46 of the OT.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as Neil Petruic buried his first goal of the season. Alex Henry sent a cross-ice pass to Petruic and he blasted a shot through traffic to the back of the net at 5:52 in the first period. Olivier Fortier also chipped in on the play with an assist.

Rockford got the equalizer to tie the contest up at 1-1. Evan Brophey worked the puck around to Kyle Hagel and he threw it in on the Bulldogs net. Igor Makarov read the play and raced towards the net to chip it past Drew MacIntyre at 7:30 in the middle frame.

Then, the IceHogs took the lead as Rob Klinkhammer tickled the twine at 18:53 in the second period. Taffe dished the puck to Klinkhammer racing into the Bulldogs zone. The puck got caught in Klinkhammer's skates but he corralled it and ripped in his 13th goal of the season and 50th of his professional career to put the score at 2-1.

The IceHogs extended their lead with a short-handed marker coming off a hustle play by Makarov. With the Hogs down a man, the IceHogs cleared the puck to the Bulldogs zone. Makarov raced it down, beating a Bulldogs skater and fed a wide open Brophey who slapped in his 10th of the season. Jassen Cullimore also factored in with an assist, his second of the night.

Toivonen picked up his 16th win on the campaign turning away 28 of 31 Hamilton shots, meanwhile MacIntyre stopped 29 of 33 Rockford shots.

Neither team converted on a powerplay opportunity.  The IceHogs went 0-for-3 and held the Bulldogs off the board on six chances.

Next Home Game: Saturday, March 26 vs. Milwaukee Admirals. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m. The first 2,500 fans to the game will receive an IceHogs dry erase board courtesy of Rock Valley College, FOX 39 and BOB FM.

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