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ICEHOGS COMEBACK FALTERS DESPITE THREE-GOAL THIRD PERIOD

photo by Greg Hamil
11/16/2011 7:05 PM - Rockford, Ill.- For the second time in three games, the Rockford IceHogs mounted a comeback after being down by three goals, but again they couldn’t pull it out, losing 5-4 to the Oklahoma City Barons on Wednesday at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

The Barons took a 4-1 lead with a three-goal second period but the IceHogs came storming back in the final frame. Brandon Segal struck first with his team-leading seventh goal of the season just three minutes into the final period. Brian Fahey fed a pass to Segal from the blue line, and the IceHogs Captain skated around Yann Danis and backhanded the puck to the back of the net to make it 4-2.

Just a minute and 14 seconds later, Ryan Stanton drove into the Barons zone, waiting patiently with the puck before sending a cross-ice pass to Peter LeBlanc, who tapped in his second goal of the night to pull Rockford within one.

Then, with the momentum on the IceHogs side, Brandon Pirri tied the game with his fifth goal of the season. With heavy traffic in front of the Barons net, Pirri found the loose puck and chipped it past Danis at 11:47 of the third.

The IceHogs comeback was stopped short, however, after Ryan Keller took advantage of a turnover in the IceHogs zone, flipping the puck over the shoulder of Alec Richards to give the Barons a 5-4 advantage at 12:45.

The IceHogs had chances late, including a Brett McLean penalty shot, but Danis held Rockford off the board the rest of the way to give the Barons a 5-4 win.

LeBlanc got the IceHogs on the board in the first period with a power play goal, which was also his first of the season. After several good looks on the man-advantage, Jeremy Morin fed LeBlanc a pass from the far left side, and LeBlanc ripped a shot from the top of the right face-off circle past Danis at the 8:06 mark in the opening frame.

Oklahoma City used a 5-on-3 power play to their advantage and tied the game at 13:04 of the first period. Linus Omark fired a shot from the blue line that Alexander Salak blocked down, but Teemu Hartikainen picked up the rebound to put the Barons on the scoreboard.

Heading into the second period tied at one, the Barons got on the board early to make it a 2-1 game. Ryan Lowery and Gilbert Brule setup Hartikainen, who tallied his second goal on the night, just 2:33 into the middle frame to give Oklahoma City a 2-1 advantage.

The Barons tacked on a power play marker to extend the lead to 3-1 at 11:50 in the second. Hartikainen raced into the IceHogs zone and dished the puck off for Brule, who fired a shot in from the face-off circle past Salak.

Then, the Oklahoma City added another tally to push the lead to 4-1.  Keller rushed to the right side of Salak before passing the puck to Philippe Cornet, who flipped the puck over the IceHogs netminder to give the Barons a three goal lead at 14:58 of the middle frame.

Rockford converted on one of their five power play opportunities while Oklahoma City converted on two of five.

Richards came in to replace Salak in the third period and was handed the loss, stopping five of the six chances he face. Salak turned away 16 of 20 Barons attempts. Danis turned away 33 shots to earn the win for the Barons.

Next Home Game: Wednesday, Nov. 23 vs. San Antonio Rampage at 7:05 p.m. The first 1,500 fans 18 and older get an IceHogs bottle opener thanks to Bud Light. Fans can also take advantage of Taco Bell Dollar Days at the BMO Harris Bank Center as fans can get $1 beers, sodas, hot dogs and companion tickets.