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Pigs in Zen: The Playoff Push Continues

Week 26 of the AHL schedule featured the IceHogs playing three games in three nights over the weekend. The IceHogs needed to win at least two of their three games, especially with the three contests all being against Midwest Division teams.

First up for the IceHogs was a home match-up against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center. After falling behind by two relatively early in the first period due to two power play goals by Landon Ferraro, the IceHogs stormed back with five goals. Brad Mills got the IceHogs on the board with a late first period marker. Defensemen Adam Clendening (PPG) and Mathieu Brisebois tallied in the second period to give Rockford a 3-2 lead. Clendening and Brian Connelly (PPG) scored in the third period to give the IceHogs a three goal cushion. The IceHogs needed every one of those goals as Grand Rapids scored twice to bring the score to 5-4 before the final frame was over, but Rockford was able to hang on for the victory.

-The IceHogs outshot the Griffins 33-27; Jason LaBarbera was in net for the IceHogs.

-The IceHogs scored on two of their three power plays and the Griffins tallied on four of their seven man advantages.

-Defenseman Adam Clendening led the IceHogs with six shots on goal.

-The three stars of the game were:  1 – Adam Clendening (2 G, +1, 6 SOG) 2 – Alex Broadhurst (2 A, +2, 1 SOG, 2 PIMs) 3 – Pierre-Marc Bouchard (2 A, +1, 2 PIMs).

-The scratches for the IceHogs were:  Viktor Svedberg (injured), Bobby Shea, Jared Nightingale (both suspended), Brett Skinner, Pat Mullane, Joe Gleason and Trevor van Riemsdyk.

-The lines and D pairs for the IceHogs were:

Pierre-Marc Bouchard – Joakim Nordstrom – Brad Mills

Brandon Mashinter – Drew LeBlanc – Garret Ross

Terry Broadhurst – Alex Broadhurst – Mark McNeill

Philippe Lefebvre – Phillip Danault – David Gilbert

Klas Dahlbeck – Adam Clendening

Theo Peckham – Brian Connelly

Wade Brookbank – Mathieu Brisebois

The following night, the IceHogs traveled up to Grand Rapids to finish their home-and-home series against the Griffins. Saturday night’s contest did not go as well for the IceHogs as they dropped an important tilt, 4-1, despite Alex Broadhurst opening the scoring up in the second period. Grand Rapids then scored four unanswered goals from there on out.

-The Griffins outshot the IceHogs 29-23; Jason LaBarbera was in net for the IceHogs.

-The IceHogs were unable to score on all five of their power play opportunities whereas the Griffins scored on one of their two man advantages.

-Defenseman Adam Clendening led the IceHogs with four shots on goal.

-The three stars of the game were:  1 – Mitch Callahan (1 G, 1 A, +1, 3 SOG) 2 – Petr Mrazek (22 saves) 3 — Adam Almquist (2 A, +1).

-The scratches for the IceHogs were:  Viktor Svedberg (injured), Bobby Shea, Jared Nightingale (suspended), Wade Brookbank, Joe Gleason, Philippe Lefebvre and Trevor van Riemsdyk.

The IceHogs traveled back to Rockford for a Sunday game against the Chicago Wolves at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Almost every time the IceHogs tried to pull away on the scoreboard, the Wolves would fight back. Mark McNeill gave the IceHogs the first lead of the game with his 16th goal of the season in the second period, but Ty Rattie tied the game up just over a minute later.

Forwards Joakim Nordstrom and Brandon Mashinter (PPG) then gave the IceHogs a 3-1 lead, but Chicago knotted the game up at three in the third with two early goals. Brad Mills tallied a power play marker just over halfway through the final frame to put the IceHogs back in front; the home team never looked back. The IceHogs picked up a 6-3 win as Mashinter and Phillip Danault recorded empty net goals.

-The IceHogs outshot the Wolves 38-31; Kent Simpson was in net for the IceHogs.

-The IceHogs scored on two of their five power plays and the Wolves tallied on one of their six man advantages.

-Forward Mark McNeill led the IceHogs with eight shots on goal.

-The three stars of the game were:  1 – Brad Mills (1 G, +1, 6 SOG) 2 – Mark McNeill (1 G, +1, 8 SOG) 3 – Ty Rattie (2 G, 9 SOG).

-Defenseman Klas Dahlbeck was a +3 on the evening for the IceHogs.

-The IceHogs wore purple “Hamlet” March of Dimes jerseys on Sunday. They auctioned the jerseys off after the game in a live auction.

-The scratches for the IceHogs were:  Viktor Svedberg (injured), Bobby Shea, Jared Nightingale (both suspended), Brett Skinner, Pat Mullane, Joe Gleason, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Philippe Lefebvre.

-The lines and D pairs for the IceHogs were:

Pierre-Marc Bouchard – Joakim Nordstrom – Brad Mills

Brandon Mashinter – Drew LeBlanc – Garret Ross

Terry Broadhurst – Alex Broadhurst – Mark McNeill

David Gilbert – Phillip Danault – Ryan Hartman

Klas Dahlbeck – Adam Clendening

Theo Peckham – Brian Connelly

Wade Brookbank – Mathieu Brisebois

OBSERVATIONS

-Kent Simpson played well in net for the IceHogs on Sunday. It was the first time in his last few starts that he actually got some help in front of him. He made many good saves, including two big saves to start the third period.

-Brad Mills has been playing very well lately for Rockford in all areas of the ice. Not only is he being used on the penalty kill and power play—and is excelling  in those situations—he has been scoring goals which is something the team needs, especially with guys like Jeremy Morin and Brandon Pirri not on the roster anymore.

-Mathieu Brisebois is fitting in very well with the IceHogs. Not only did he score his first goal in an IceHogs sweater on Friday night, but he appears to be adjusting to the systems well. His heavy shot from the point is something the IceHogs can take advantage of in the offensive zone.

-Ryan Hartman made his professional debut on Sunday for the IceHogs. After his Plymouth Whalers got knocked out of the OHL playoffs, Hartman arrived in Rockford and did not look out of place. He fit right in with the way the IceHogs play and looked comfortable. This is good news for the IceHogs in the future. Once he gets more adjusted to the pro game, he will hopefully become a big part of the team.

-The IceHogs now have a record of 33-26-5-4 (75 points) and are in 7th place in the Western Conference standings. Charlotte is tied with them in points, but Rockford has a game in-hand.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR ROCKFORD?

Friday, April 4 at Abbotsford at 9 p.m. CT

Saturday, April 5 at Abbotsford at 9 p.m. CT

Tuesday, April 8 at Milwaukee at 7 p.m.

  • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

    Don’t let the lack of comments indicate the worth of these posts, Kim. They’re really appreciated, I love reading them, seeing what’s up down the pike. You’ll be getting Mr. Johns to report on soon, too.

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      Plus everybody’s in the other threads spinning in circles.

    • kimwrona

      Thank you very much! I appreciate that. :) I can’t wait to see Johns play in person. I wish they were at home this weekend so we could see him on BMO ice ASAP!

  • bizarrohairhelmet

    Kim, one of the commentoriat mentioned going to a bbHawks last week or so and thinking that the team was largely uninspiring and sub-NHL quality with little NHL-ready talent. Would you say that his observation was a product of an off night or is the team as a whole in need of more development? Seems Smith and Shaw are the most recent call-ups that have stuck and they aren’t exactly rookies.

    • kimwrona

      It was probably an off-night, depending on what game he saw. I wouldn’t say that there’s little NHL-ready talent. The guys are still developing and will be ready in a few seasons. They just need some time. The Hogs are doing well as a team and are in a way better spot this season than they were last season–despite, arguably, having a better roster on paper last season. All of the NHL ready talent that was on the Hogs is either up with the club now (Morin, Nordstrom) or with other teams (Pirri, Stanton, Hayes, Olsen, etc).