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GROULX TIES GAME LATE, HOGS WIN 3-2 IN SHOOTOUT

Article By: Mike Peck

Rob Klinkhammer finished with his second multi-point game of the season with a goal and assist to lead the Rockford IceHogs over the Quad City Flames. (Photo by Greg Hamil
12/31/2008 1:52 PM -

Rockford ends three-game slide

Rockford, Ill.- The Rockford IceHogs ended 2008 with a win, beating the Quad City Flames 3-2 in a shootout on Wednesday at the Rockford MetroCentre.

"We've been struggling the last ten games or so," said #1 star of the game Rob Klinkhammer. "We've been really lacking confidence. It was really important for us to get a win tonight."

Down 2-1, defenseman Danny Groulx sent the game to overtime with his third goal of the season at 13:49 in the third period.  Groulx blasted a Tim Hambly feed after Rob Klinkhammer won a face-off deep in the Quad City zone past Leland Irving.

After a scoreless overtime, Pascal Pelletier and Petri Kontiola tallied during the shootout to take two points away from Rockford's oldest rival.  Only Kris Chucko could solve Antti Niemi
on the other side of the ice.

In the first period, the Hogs took the lead with a goal from Klinkhammer with 16 seconds left before the first intermission.  The winger lit the lamp for his fifth goal of the season at 19:44 on a rebound of a shot by Dan Bertram.  Hambly recorded an assist on the goal as well.

Quad City's Matt Pelech tied the score at one by sniping the corner of the net at 7:16 in the second period with an assist by Peter Vandermeer and Adam Cracknell.

Then Ryan Wilson capitalized on a Pascal Pelletier penalty to give Quad City it's first lead of the night at 4:23 in the third period with assists from Cracknell and David Van der Gulik.

"I think when we gave up that second goal, the boys were thinking 'Oh no, here we go again,' " Klinkhammer said. "But Groulx' goal just took the weight off our shoulders and gave us a lot more confidence."

Klinkhammer finished with his first multi-point game since Oct. 17 at Iowa.

Niemi picked up his first win in six starts with 28 saves.  Leland Irving finished with 32 saves. The Hogs ended their streak of five straight games with a power-play goal, going without one in eight opportunities.  They held the Flames to 1-for-6 on the power-play.

Next Home Game:  Saturday, Jan. 3 vs. Chicago Wolves. The puck drops on 2009 at 7:05 p.m.  Rockford returns to the MetroCentre to complete another home-and-home set, this time against the Wolves.  The first 2,000 fans to the game will receive a pair of IceHogs Fleece Gloves courtesy of Mega Truck Rental and 13-WREX TV.