11/09/2007 5:20 PM
Article By: Mike Peck
Rockford, Ill.- Usually a third period lead is safe in hockey. One look at the stats from Friday’s Rockford IceHogs-Grand Rapids Griffins contest will show the IceHogs getting a win after leading 5-3 after two periods. But two third period goals wiped that lead away and Rockford had to snag two points in the shootout.
Specials teams did Rockford in, during the final frame. A pair of power-play goals by Mark Cullen (6:33) and Mark Hartigan (15:12) erased the IceHogs two-goal lead in the third period. Then in overtime, Rockford failed to convert on a power-play chance of their own.
The shootout, however, was a different story as Kris Versteeg, Jack Skille and Petri Kontiola all solved Jimmy Howard to sneak by the Griffins in the extra session and nab the two standing points.
Rockford opened the scoring at 12:04 of the opening frame when winger Mike Blunden poked a rebound top shelf over Howard for his fourth goal of the season. Skille pushed Rockford’s lead to 2-0 after sliding a his third marker of the season under Howard at 15:45. Hartigan cut Rockford’s lead in half when he snuck a power-play goal past Hogs goalie Corey Crawford at 19:00 of the opening stanza.
A back-and-forth second period began with another Hartigan lamp lighter. The Griffins centerman someone forced in a rebound under Crawford at 4:41 to tie the score at 2-2. Rockford retaliated with the first of two Jake Dowell goals on the night. From his backside, Dowell batted in a rebound at 9:07 making it 3-2 Rockford.
The Griffins bounced back with an unassisted snipe from Cullen, his first of two on the night at 14:36. But 31-seconds later IceHogs defenseman Cam Barker reclaimed Rockford’s lead with a back-handed marker to make it 4-3 Rockford. Dowell tacked on another when he slapped a rebound past Howard for his fifth goal of the season at 15:52 of the second period.
Rockford recorded a season high 46 shots on goal in the win while allowing 39 shots in on Crawford.
Next Home Game: Sunday, Nov. 11 vs. San Antonio Rampage. Game time is 5:05 p.m. The Rampage return to Rockford as the Hogs close out a three-game weekend. The first 1,000 fans to the game will receive IceHogs poster #1 from Pepsi, Johnson Press, Medicine Man, Rockford Register Star and WTVO-TV channel-17.