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TOIVONEN BACKSTOPS ROCKFORD TO SHOOTOUT WIN IN HAMILTON

Article By: Mike Peck

Photo by Ryan Pfieffer
03/09/2011 12:18 PM - Hogs goalie turns away 44 shots as Hogs finish road trip 3-1-1-1

Hamilton, Ont.- Apparently the Rockford IceHogs shook off the shootout rust on Tuesday night. After going nearly three months without a shootout game, Rockford participated in their second straight shootout and came away with a 2-1 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum on Wednesday night.

Hannu Toivonen made 44 saves in the win and Rockford outscored Hamilton 3-2 in the extra session a night after falling 3-0 in the shootout in Toronto. Brandon Pirri ended it in round five for the IceHogs, giving Rockford their first ever win over Hamilton in five all-time meetings with the Bulldogs.

For the fourth straight contest Rockford struck first and it was Ben Smith notching a goal in his fourth straight game. On a 5-on-3 power play, Smith cleaned up a Brian Connelly rebound and swiped his 14th goal of the season around Drew MacIntrye.

Hamilton responded early in period two to tie the game at 1-1. Nigel Dawes’ initial shot snuck underneath Toivonen and Aaron Pulushaj worked his way behind Rockford’s puck stopper and knocked in his 15th goal of the season at 2:23 of the second period.

After receiving four power-play chances in the first period, Rockford found themselves a man down four times in the second period including for six minutes in the final 7:19 of the frame. Rockford was able to stave off the Bulldogs rally, however, to preserve the 1-1 game at the second intermission.

Rockford finished their franchise record 11-day, six-game road trip with a 3-1-1-1 (.750) record. The IceHogs finish off the road swing on Friday in Milwaukee after a quick stop home on Thursday.

Next Home Game:
Sunday, March 13, vs. Chicago Wolves. Puck drop is at 4:05 p.m. It’s the IceHogs 12th Annual Jersey Auction game. The Hogs will be wearing special jerseys commemorating first responders. After the game, the jerseys will be auctioned off to fans. Also, the first 2,500 fans to the game will receive a Jersey Auction T-Shirt compliments of WXRX.