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By: Mike Peck
Photo courtesy of the Peoria Rivermen
11/11/2011 4:40 PM - Hogs can’t hold late two-goal lead after overcoming deficit

Peoria, Ill.- A three-goal lead and a two-goal advantage were held on Friday night, but neither the Rockford IceHogs or Peoria Rivermen could hold a lead at Carver Arena. The Rivermen knocked off Rockford 7-6 in overtime after trailing 6-4 with less than 90 seconds left in regulation.

Rockford, however, took the lead after trailing 4-1 midway through the game.

Brett McLean would help start to dig Rockford out of the hole. At 10:07 of the second frame, McLean picked up a Jeremy Morin pass and knocked his fifth goal of the season past Jake Allen, making it 4-2.

On a power play in the third period, Rockford made it a 4-3 game. Shawn Lalonde’s low snap shot from the right point was redirected past Allen and in by Ben Smith for his fifth goal of the season at 2:40 of the final frame. The goal was also his team-leading fourth on the power play.

Smith then tied the game in transition at 9:24. Andrew Shaw started the rush for Rockford and found Brandon Pirri in the neutral zone. Smith picked up a Pirri pass and rifled a shot off of the helmet of Allen and into the Peoria goal, tying the contest at 4-4.

The offense continued to flow for Rockford and they grabbed their first lead of the game at 10:14 of the third period. Off of a Smith face-off win, Pirri snapped home his fourth goal of the season.

Then Morin chipped in his second marker of the night on the power play to make it 6-4 at 12:09 of the third, set up by McLean and Brandon Segal.

But on this night, no lead was safe. Peoria grabbed a pair of late power plays and with Allen pulled, the Rivermen had a six-on-three advantage. Phil McRae would waste little time making it a one-goal game when he ripped his second goal of the night over the Alexander Salak at 18:48.

Then on a six-on-four, McRae struck again to tie the game. McRae picked up a Danny Syvret pass and from on top of the right face-off circle completed his hat trick at 19:32 of the final frame to force overtime.

In the extra session, the Rivermen capitalized at 3:31 in transition. Adam Cracknell followed a Jay Barriball shot and flipped in his fourth goal of the season over Salak to grab the extra point.

The Rivermen tallied twice midway through the opening frame to take a first period advantage of Friday. T.J. Hensick was able to maneuver around three IceHogs back checkers and flip his fifth goal of the season past Alec Richards at 9:31.

Less than two minutes later Cade Fairchild put the Rivermen on top 2-0. Fairchild picked up a Brett Sterling pass and beat Richards in traffic at 11:22 for his second goal of the season from on top of the right face-off circle.

Rockford struck quickly in period two to reduce the deficit to a goal. Brian Connelly’s shot from the point deflected off the back boards behind the Peoria goal and Morin was there to bank the puck off Allen 48-seconds into the frame.

But two more quick strikes by the Rivermen extended their lead. Moments after a power play ended, McRae back handed his fifth goal of the season past a sprawled out Richards at 6:41.

Then 1:01 later, on another power play, Syvret would end Richards night when he blasted his first goal of the season past Rockford’s goalie from the left point, set up by T.J. Hensick.

Salak was tagged with the loss after making 15 saves on 18 shots faced. Allen picked up his first win of the year, despite giving up six tallies on 42 shots faced.

Next Home Game: Saturday, Nov. 12 vs. Peoria: The IceHogs host Peoria for the second time in 2011-12 for another Illinois Lottery Cup tilt. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. It’s also Heritage Night at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Before the IceHogs take on the Rivermen, there will be an Alumni game featuring former IceHogs skaters against former Blackhawks. The Alumni game will begin at 4 p.m. Special throwback jerseys will be worn by the alumni and current IceHogs and auctioned off after the game.

For every goal that the Rockford IceHogs score in 2011-12, IceHogs head coach Ted Dent will make a donation to children’s cancer research. BMO Harris Bank will also make a donation for every goal to the “BMO Harris Bank Goals For Grades” initiative.

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