Week 19 was friendly towards the IceHogs as they took the 2 points in 2 of 3 games. They added another 2 points to kick of week 20 as they make their push for the playoffs.
The week kicked off with a Wednesday night game in Peoria on February 13th. The IceHogs dropped that contest 5-3, despite getting the first goal of the game from Terry Broadhurst. Jimmy Hayes and Brandon Pirri scored the other two Rockford goals. Carter Hutton was in net for the IceHogs and he made 38 saves in the tilt.
On Saturday, February 16th, the IceHogs were back at the BMO Harris Bank Center to face the Abbotsford Heat. The offense exploded in this game as the Hogs scored 5 goals in the first period and 7 in the whole contest. Kenndal McArdle, Brandon Pirri (two times), Martin St. Pierre, Adam Clendening, Shawn Lalonde, and David Gilbert provided the markers. Clendening (G, A), Pirri (2G), Terry Broadhurst, Jeremy Morin, and Ben Youds (2 assists each) all posted multi-point games. Carter Hutton backstopped the team to the 7-2 victory.
The following night, the Hogs took on the Lake Erie Monsters at the BMO. Once again, Carter Hutton was in between the pipes and he made a lot of good saves throughout the tilt. Kyle Beach scored the lone goal in regulation for Rockford and Brad Mills scored the game winning goal in the shootout to give the Hogs the 2-1 win.
Like deja vu, the Hogs were back in Peoria a week later on Wednesday, February 20th. Just like the previous game as well, Terry Broadhurst opened up the scoring in the first period. This time, he scored 48 seconds into the first period and deflected a Klas Dahlbeck shot past Rivs goalie Mike McKenna. Jeremy Morin, Martin St. Pierre, and Kenndal McArdle chipped in on the scoresheet to make it a 4 goal contest as Carter Hutton posted a 35 save shutout.
–Carter Hutton has really picked up his game since Henrik Karlsson was recalled to the Blackhawks. Granted, the defense has also played well in front of him, Hutton has been making more of the big saves lately than he had been during parts of the year. It’s good news for Rockford though as they make a late season push for the playoffs; they need their goaltender to be there night in and night out for them.
–Terry Broadhurst looks like a whole new man out on the ice. Ever since being put on a line with Jimmy Hayes and Jeremy Morin, Broadhurst has picked up his game. For the past couple of games now, he’s been on a line with Brandon Pirri and Brad Mills and Broadhurst has just been exuding confidence with the puck as he shoots from good scoring areas and goes hard to the net. He’s using his speed effectively and has been a key piece to Rockford’s recent success.
–Jeremy Morin and Brandon Pirri have both been used more on the penalty kill as of late. And they’ve been doing a great job. In addition, Pirri’s offensive game has sprung to life recently. In the last 4 games, Pirri has 4 points (3 G, 1 A). Morin has also been on fire lately. In his last 8 games, he has 10 points (3 G, 7 A).
–Joe Lavin and Shawn Lalonde have been paired up on the backend in the last few games and they’ve made a pretty solid pair. They’re used a lot on the penalty kill and are creeping into that first D pairing range with the injury to No. 1 defenseman Ryan Stanton.
-On February 13th in Peoria, defenseman Ryan Stanton played in his 200th professional game/IceHogs game and stretched his consecutive games played streak to 147. Unfortunately, that streak came to an end on February 16th as he sat out due to an injury suffered at the end of the Peoria game. The last game the IceHogs played without Stanton was on February 26, 2011.
–Brandon Pirri scored his 50th professional goal on Saturday against Abbotsford in the first period.
–Carter Hutton‘s shutout on Wednesday, February 20th in Peoria was his first shutout since the first game of the season when the IceHogs lost 1-0 to the Wolves in a shootout.
–Injury update: Ben Smith could return on Friday night against the Grand Rapids Griffins; Dylan Olsen continued to be out with an injury in all four games; Philippe Paradis made his return back into the lineup on February 20th after sitting out for 3 games with an injury; Ryan Stanton sat out Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday with his injury.
-The IceHogs now have a record of 25-25-1-1 (52 points). They are now tied for third in the Midwest Division with the Milwaukee Admirals; Milwaukee has 3 games in-hand though. In the Western Conference standings, the Hogs moved up to a tie for 11th with Milwaukee. Rockford currently sits 5 points out of a playoff spot.
What’s Next For Rockford?
-Friday, February 22 vs. Grand Rapids at 7:05 p.m.
-Sunday, February 24 at Chicago at 3:00 p.m.