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Hogs beat the Heat, Richards gets shutout

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ToddReicher

This past weekend, the 'Hogs traveled to Abbotsford, British Columbia to face the Abbotsford Heat for a two-game series Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15-16, with the first night being the Heat's home opener.

Rockford was successful last year against the Heat, finishing with a 3-1 record. The 'Hogs lost the first game of the series, which took place in Abbotsford, but won the final three matchups including two of two at home.

After a long road trip to Abbotsford, the 'Hogs were ready to play, and came out firing. They also came out undisciplined, taking the first four penalties of the game. Less than four minutes into the game, Morin was tagged for a holding the stick penalty. Rockford successfully killed the penalty, and answered just 43 seconds later with the first goal of the night. Ryan Stanton took a shot from the point, which was fended off by Heat netter Leland Irving, but Evan Brophey was there to collect the loose change and tap home his second goal of the season.

Just after killing off their third penalty of the night, Rockford beat their previous time and scored 42 seconds later. This time, Rob Klinkhammer tallied his second of the season. Lalonde was the only player credited with the assist, but Klinkhammer and Beach created a great amount of traffic in front of the net, causing Irving to scramble in search of the puck. Klinkhammer grabbed the puck while traversing the back side of the net and slid it in to give the 'Hogs a 2-0 lead.

Scoring after a penalty seemed to be a trend on this Friday night as Rockford would tally a third goal after killing off a penalty. This time, Jeff Taffe came racing out of the box just as the puck was crossing center ice. Taffe grabbed the puck in full stride with no one in front of him except for Irving. Taffe deked left and went back to the forehand and beat Irving for a 4-0 'Hogs lead.

Just a few minutes later, while on their first man-advantage, the Hogs added to their total when Morin picked up a hot rebound off an Ivan Vishnevskiy shot, increasing the lead to three.

Rockford would tally their fifth goal of the night when a shot from the point by Brian Connelly was tipped in by Brandon Pirri.

Things would start to get ugly as fists were being thrown out left and right, as well as penalties. Three fights, including two game misconducts would be handed out, giving each team a total of 11 penalties throughout the night.

Finally, Rockford's special teams came alive, going 2-5 on the man advantage and 5-5 on the kill. But just as important, 'Hogs goalie Alec Richards put in a strong bid as starting goaltender as he stopped all 27 shots he faced, earning his first career shutout and player of the game honors.

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