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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Niemi to Blackhawks; Rivermen defeat Hogs 3-1

In Rockford, the Peoria Rivermen pulled out a 3-1 win over the Rockford IceHogs. With goalie Antti Niemi called up to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Hogs had Joe Fallon backing Corey Crawford in the pipes. Fallon, up from the Gwinnett Gladiators, has a 91 percent save percentage after ten games with the Glads.

Niemi, like Crawford when he was called up this season, isn't expected to see a lot of ice time with the Blackhawks. I'm a bit surprised that Niemi was called up, as watching the games, I see Crawford as having a better shot at the National Hockey League. However, I have no better insight than what I've previously shared about Niemi and Crawford.

Having said that, the loss at the MetroCentre demonstrates how top teams sometimes have trouble with lower ranked teams in their division. The same is generally true of the Hogs when they play the MAds or the Wolves when they play the MAds. The Rivermen cause more trouble for the IceHogs than you'd generally expect. In this game they took a lead in the first frame and held on. Early in the second period the Rivermen's Cam Paddock even gave the Hogs a double minor power play opportunity for attempted spearing (bad!). Even though the Hogs out shot the Rivermen 18-9 in the final period of play, it was the Peoria team that took the win, withstanding the Hogs attack.

Tim Brent put seven shots on net for the Hogs, scoring the only goal of the team. Crawford stopped 28 shots on goal for the loss, Manny Legace was in net for the Rivermen, stopping 33 shots on goal. Trent Whitfield had a three point night, Steve Regier had a two point night. Regier notched five shots on goal.

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