ICEHOGS SLIP PAST CHOPS, FINISH FIRST WEEKEND OF 2008-09

By: Chris Etheridge
10/12/2008 7:26 PM - Rockford hands Iowa first loss of the 2008-09 season

Rockford, Ill.- Eventually the IceHogs will have to score an even-strength goal.

But with two wins in three games to start the season, the power play seems to be working just fine for them.

The Rockford IceHogs put two more man-advantage goals into the net en route to a 2-1 win over the Iowa Chops Sunday at the Rockford MetroCentre. The Hogs now have seven total goals in the short season, all of which came on the power play.

The Hogs took an early 1-0 lead thanks to a Cam Barker power-play blast from the blue line at 2:25 in the first period, assisted by Troy Brouwer and Pascal Pelletier, and carried the lead into the middle of the second frame.

But Iowa's T.J. Trevelyan tied the game at one when his shot bounced off of Antti Niemi's pad and underneath Tim Brent as he inadvertantly slid into the goal at 10:23 in the second period.

In the third frame, the IceHogs scored with a couple of different faces on the special teams. Adam Berti got his turn to put up a tally on the power play at 10:43 with helpers from Rob Klinkhammer and Tim Brent.

"It's nice to get an opportunity to be on the power play," Berti said. "(Peters) doesn't really know us well, so we get a chance to showcase ourselves a little bit. He's just getting used to us too, so every time I get a chance, I want to prove that I can be out there."

The IceHogs now have six different players scoring on the power play and finished 2-for-7 on the advantage on Sunday.  They also killed all seven of Iowa's opportunities.

"Special teams is always a big thing," Berti said. "When you're a top team on the power play and a top team on the penalty kill you're going to be a top team in the league."

After putting up 34 saves in his North American debut on Saturday, Niemi finished Sunday's contest with another 26 in his first win in the AHL. Already the IceHogs have put their strong goaltending on display this season.

"We know we're going to have stellar goaltending in every game," Berti said. "Niemi played really good tonight like he did last night and so did (Crawford) the night before. So every time we play a game we know we're going to have a number one goaltender who can keep us in games."

The IceHogs will take the next four days off now and then head out to Iowa for a rematch against the Chops on Friday.

Next Home Game: Friday, Oct. 24 vs. Norfolk Admirals: Game time is 7:30 p.m. The Norfolk Admirals come into the Rockford MetroCentre for the first of two straight against the IceHogs.  The weekend set marks the only time during the 2008-09 regular season that the Hogs will face an Eastern Conference team at home.



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