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The San Antonio Rampage battled back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game in the third period but fell to the Rockford IceHogs by a score of 6-3 at BMO Harris Bank Center on Wednesday night.
The IceHogs got on the board first with a goal from center Brandon Pirri at the 4:12 mark of the opening frame. Left wing Rostislav Olesz’s initial shot from the slot area was deflected off a Rampage defender in front, but the rebound popped over San Antonio goalie Brian Foster and fell in front of Pirri, who swept the puck into an open net to give Rockford a 1-0 lead. Right wing Jimmy Hayes also assisted on the play.
Right wing Brandon Segal extended the IceHog advantage to 2-0 on a power-play goal nearly 13 minutes later. Center Brett McLean took a pass from defenseman Brian Connelly at the blue line and fired a shot that Segal was able to tip. The deflected puck floated past Foster and into the net for Segal’s eighth goal of the year.
The Rockford edge was increased to three when center David Gilbert posted his first goal of the season on a rebound chance at 4:46 of the second period. Foster stopped a snap shot from Connelly but the puck bounced off Foster’s leg pad, caromed off Brandon Bollig, and kicked out to Gilbert, who deposited it into the net to give Rockford a 3-0 lead.
Left wing Evan Barlow tallied the first San Antonio score of the game just over a minute and a half later. He cruised into the IceHogs zone and took a shot from the right circle that beat Rockford goalie Alexander Salak over his glove to make the score 3-1. The goal was Barlow’s first AHL goal of the season and his first as a member of the Rampage.
San Antonio cut their deficit to 3-2 with a power-play goal from forward David Marshall at the 14:43 mark of the middle period. Defenseman Keith Seabrook started the play when he sent the puck toward the goal from the blue line. Barlow corralled it and ripped a shot that Salak stopped but could not control, and Marshall pounced on the rebound to score his second goal of the campaign.
Forward Greg Rallo capped the Rampage comeback with his fifth goal of the year nearly five minutes into the third stanza. Forward Bracken Kearns gained possession of the puck in the IceHogs zone and fed defenseman Colby Robak, who was cutting into the slot. Robak sent a shot on goal that went off of Salak and onto the stick of Rallo, who fired the puck into the net to knot the score at 3-3.
The IceHogs regained the lead over a minute later on Pirri’s second goal of the game 5:47 into the third. His shot from the left circle found its way through traffic and past Foster to restore the Rockford edge at 4-3. Connelly and left wing Jeremy Morin tallied the assists on the score.
Olesz gave Rockford a 5-3 advantage when he scored the IceHogs second power-play goal of the game at 13:39 of the third. Olesz gained speed at the Rampage blue line and moved in on Foster before lifting a backhander over the San Antonio goalie’s glove for his third goal of the season. Connelly totaled his fourth assist of the contest and Morin registered his eighth assist of the year with the helpers on Olesz’s goal.
Pirri recorded his first career hat trick at the 14:41 mark of the final period when he finished off a goal-mouth scramble for Rockford’s third power-play goal of the game and boosted the IceHog edge to 6-3. Center Andrew Shaw and defenseman Joe Lavin notched the assists on Pirri’s third goal of the game.
Salak made 20 saves on 23 Rampage shots for his second win of the season. Foster stopped 34 of the 40 IceHogs shots he faced in the San Antonio loss.
The Rampage (7-11-0-0) will travel to Abbotsford for a weekend set against the Heat on Friday and Sunday.