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Pigs in Zen: Stumbling Back Down the Mountain

The IceHogs have had a busy schedule this past week as they played 4 games in 6 days. With a few wins, they would’ve increased their point lead as they sat atop the Western Conference standings, but the roll that the Hogs were on came to an abrupt halt.

On Thursday, October 31st, the IceHogs welcomed the Charlotte Checkers back into the BMO Harris Bank Center. The Checkers opened up a 3-0 lead just past the halfway mark of the game, but the Hogs were able to score 3 of their own to tie it up, courtesy of Garret Ross, Mark McNeill and Jimmy Hayes. Unfortunately for Rockford, they weren’t able to put any more goals up on the board and the Checkers were able to pot 2 more, giving the visitors the win.

The following night, November 1st, the Hogs traveled up to Milwaukee to take on the Admirals for the first time this season. The visitors found themselves down 1-0 early on in the contest, but Mark McNeill tallied his 7th goal of the season to bring the game back even. The Hogs didn’t crack the scoresheet again until the third period with an Alex Broadhurst power play marker, but that only made the score 3-2. Milwaukee added a power play, empty net goal with 37 seconds remaining to make the final 4-2.

Sunday, November 3rd’s game against Grand Rapids at the BMO looked like it might be a first-goal-wins contest and it kind of did turn into that. The Griffins scored twice in the second period and took that lead into the 3rd, but IceHogs defenseman Klas Dahlbeck cut the lead in half with a power play goal at the 8:41 mark of the final frame. Grand Rapids dashed Rockford’s hopes of a comeback with 1:24 left in regulation as Landon Ferraro scored to make it 3-1.

The Hogs took on Grand Rapids again on November 6th. But this time, the Hogs made the trek up to Grand Rapids for a school-day matinee game against their Midwest Division foes. Apparently, the Hogs slept-walk through this game—I wasn’t able to listen to it at all so I don’t know firsthand—but Rockford dropped their 4th consecutive game as the Griffins beat them 6-2; defenseman Adam Clendening and forward Brad Winchester scored the lone tallies for the Hogs.

NOTES

-Starting netminders for each game: October 31st—Antti Raanta (31 saves/35 shots); November 1st—Kent Simpson (34 saves/37 shots); November 3rd—Antti Raanta (31 saves/34 shots); November 6th—Antti Raanta (16 saves/20 shots) and Kent Simpson relieved Raanta in the second and Simpson made 19 saves on 21 shots.

-The scratches for each game were: October 31st–Viktor Svedberg, Theo Peckham, Maxim Shalunov (all injured) and Kyle Beach (healthy); November 1st—Svedberg, Peckham, Shalunov (all injured) and Pat Mullane (healthy); November 3rd—Svedberg, Peckham (injured), Byron Froese and Wade Brookbank (healthy); November 6th – Svedberg (injured), Terry Broadhurst (?), Brookbank and Joe Gleason (healthy).

-Mark McNeill’s goal on October 31st was a 5-on-3 power play tally; Jimmy Hayes’ following marker also came on the power play.

-Defenseman Bobby Shea made his IceHogs season debut on the 31st.

-Defenseman Joe Gleason tallied his first professional point on the 31st with his primary helper on Jimmy Hayes’ goal.

-Kyle Beach made his IceHogs season debut on November 1st.

-Jimmy Hayes donned an ‘A’ on Sunday’s game at the BMO against Grand Rapids.

-Terry Broadhurst recorded his 50th professional point with his primary assist on Klas Dahlbeck’s goal on November 3rd.

-Before Wednesday’s AHL games were over, the IceHogs sit in 4th place in the Western Conference standings with a record of 7-6-0-1 (15 points).

OBSERVATIONS

-Kyle Beach got into his first few games in an IceHogs uniform for this season in this stretch of games. To be honest, he wasn’t super noticeable, but then again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He didn’t do anything outstanding, but he didn’t do anything brutal that put his team at a disadvantage, which is good.

-Antti Raanta continues to play well in net for Rockford; unfortunately, the team just hasn’t been there in front of him in his last 3 games to help him out offensively and defensively.

-Terry Broadhurst has cooled down offensively the past few games. He was scratched on Wednesday and it could be because of this, but not sure if there’s an unknown injury there or not. Seeing him as a scratch surprised me, to say the least.

-Pat Mullane has been a good addition to the IceHogs this season, at least when he’s in the line-up. He has been used as the 4th line center and has been serviceable on the penalty kill.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR ROCKFORD?

Friday, November 8 vs. Iowa at 7 pm (Los IceHogs Dos. Estoy emocionada para el partido.)

Saturday, November 9 vs. Iowa at 7 pm

  • raditzzzz

    as always, appreciate the wrap.

    • kimwrona

      No problem, thanks for reading! :)

  • MattC86

    Thoughts on what you’re seeing out of McNeill? We’re hearing rumblings (repeated in last night’s CI) that his first crack at the Hawks lineup is coming sooner than expected.

    • kimwrona

      He’s been very impressive this year all over the ice, not just offensively. He’s been responsible in his own zone, grinding in the corners, showing off his good shot, etc. Tbh, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get recalled.

      • 2883

        How much are point totals… misleading? Given that Alex Broadhurst has been every bit the point producer as McNeill (although at least in Jr. Hockey, McNeill had much more defensive profile to his game..)?

        • 2883

          This sounds more insulting than I meant it, my question should have asked how complete Broadhurst’s game compares to McNeill’s game given that their point totals are nearly (or are) equivalent?

          • kimwrona

            I would say that McNeill’s game is more complete than Alex’s, but Alex isn’t too far behind at all. Both have very bright futures.

  • bizarrohairhelmet

    from 7-2-0-1 to 7-6-0-1? oof! That’s Sharksian.

  • Joe Banks

    Great article, Kim, as always…
    Tough week, no doubt about it.
    Looking at the positives… (which I prefer)
    There were several solid comeback efforts
    You can see great chemistry developing in this group

    On the other side, replacing Victor Svedberg with Bobby Shea definitely was an impact this week. I don’t mean to pick on him, (tho I am) but hopefully he gets more comfortable real quick.

    Going into the season, I had Danault rated ahead of McNeill, and although Danaults’ work ethic will always be outstanding, McNeill has been amazing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a shot in the big house.

    • kimwrona

      Thank you, Joe!

      Yes, very tough week for sure. They need to bounce back and quickly.

      Losing Svedberg has definitely hurt them; it’s honestly probably the major cause for this skid coming out of nowhere. Agree re: Shea and McNeill; although I think McNeill would get recalled only if there are more injuries–also, if they wouldn’t bench Morin, there wouldn’t be a need to recall anyone else~ haha.