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SPECIAL TEAMS A NON-FACTOR IN HOGS WIN

The IceHogs extend their winning streak to four while ending Manchester's at threeat the Rockford MetroCentre. (Photo by Greg Hamil)
01/16/2008 2:24 PM -

Rockford wins fourth straight with help from some different names

Rockford, Ill.- Special teams was the storyline coming into the Rockford IceHogs game agaisnt the Manchester Monarchs on Wednesday night.

But they turned out to be non-factors for the most part.

The real story Wednesday was the Hogs third line. They wear the IceHogs jersey, but you haven't heard their names over the speakers often.

Still, it was Evan Brophey and Gavin Morgan that made most of the noise against the Manchester Monarchs on Wednesday at the Rockford MetroCenter.

The Monarchs were first on the board in the first period, but the Rockford IceHogs responded with three markers in the course of three minutes to make the score 3-1 at the end of one.  The Hogs would add another insurance goal in the third to make the final 4-1.

In the first, the Monarchs took advantage of a wide open center ice.

Troy Milam shot a pass from near his own goalie to Trevor Lewis in the neutral zone and no defender was within 15 feet. It didn't take much longer for the center to put drive on Corey Crawford and slip it around his pads at 8:38 in the first period.

But Petri Kontiola answered with an unassisted goal at 13:05 and the points just kept coming. Bryan Bickell added the Hogs' second goal at 13:31 with assists from Adam Berti and Morgan. Then Troy Brouwer powered through a power play marker at 15:43 to make the score 3-1. Assists were by Kontiola and Martin St. Pierre.

But after a wild first frame, the sticks were relatively quiet. The only other goal was a shot from Evan Brophey at 14:10 in the third period.  Morgan was given the helper.

Despite playing in every game for the IceHogs, it was only Brophey's second goal of the season. Morgan's two assists were his fourth and fifth.

Both teams entered tonight’s game with three-game winning streaks.  Rockford (26-9-3-5) swept a three-game weekend set last week to move back a top the AHL’s Western Conference.  Manchester (18-17-4-2) climbed back above the .500 mark with its three-game streak that also covered three weekend tilts last week.

And with the Chicago Wolves falling 4-0 to the Milwaukee Admirals, the Hogs took a three-point lead over their I-90 rivals.

After giving up three goals in the first, the Monarchs elected to pull netminder Erik Ersberg in favor of Daniel Taylor. Ersberg had 10 saves and took the loss, while Taylor finished with 20 grabs.

Rockford's Corey Crawford brought his league-leading win total to 20 with 34 saves. The Hogs held the league's top power play to 0-for-7 while going just 1-for-6 on the advantage against the league's worst penalty kill.

Next Game: Friday, Jan.18 vs. Iowa. The puck drops at 7:07 p.m. The IceHogs travel back to Des Moines for the first time since Oct. 13 to take on the Stars. The game is the front end of back-to-back games against the West Division club. Friday's contest is the second of eight on the season and the second of four at the Wells Fargo Arena.

Next Home Game: Wednesday, Jan. 23 vs. Peoria. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m.  Rockford returns home to open a three-game home stand when the Rivermen pay their first visit to the MetroCentre. Next Wednesday’s game is sponsored by Jose Cuervo and the game is the fourth of eight on the campaign and first of four at the MetroCentre.