Ice Hogs

High On The Hog: Division Split

The Rockford IceHogs were on the road this weekend, splitting a pair of Midwest Division contests. Grand Rapids defeated the Hogs Friday night to widen their advantage at the top of the division. Rockford got a win in Chicago over the Wolves Sunday afternoon.

The IceHogs trail Grand Rapids, who have won 14 of its last 17 games, by seven points in the standings. Rockford does have a pair of games in hand and haven’t been playing bad hockey, having won eight of its last twelve. If the Griffins ever cool off, a division title may yet be in the cards.

New Look On The Defense

Both Keith Seabrook and Trevor vanRiemsdyk were in action in both of Rockford’s games. Neither figured in the scoring but both players may play a factor in how things go for the Hogs on the back end.

As I mentioned last week, Seabrook hadn’t skated in an AHL rink in about three years before this weekend. He does have more AHL games under his belt than most of his most of Rockford’s defenders. He also has 26 games of playoff experience. Seabrook’s days as an NHL prospect may have passed, but looks like the Hogs are going to give him a chance to provide some depth to the blue line.

Steven Johns was a late scratch Sunday after stopping a shot with his body the night before. As he’s done quite often this season, Rockford coach Ted Dent used seven defensemen Saturday. Dent kept Ville Pokka on the bench for much of the third period in that contest.

 

Hoisting The (Lottery) Cup

Rockford moved to 7-3-1 against the Wolves after a 4-3 win Sunday, locking up the Illinois Lottery Cup for this season. The award goes to the AHL team in Illinois with the best record against the other. Rockford has won the Illinois Lottery Cup twice in the four years since the award was created.

This contest was a bit more interesting, if not prestigious, back when there was a team in Peoria and there were three teams vying for the cup. Still, coming out on top for the season against your biggest rival (and a division one at that) isn’t anything to sneeze at.

 

The Recaps

Saturday, March 14-Grand Rapids 3, Rockford 1

The Hogs dropped its second straight game to the Griffins, following last Saturday’s overtime loss.

Matt Carey blasted a 40-footer past Griffins goalie Tom McCollum for a power play goal and a 1-o Rockford lead 14:09 into the second period. However, two Grand Rapids goals in the last 2:19 of the period sent put the Hogs in a hole they couldn’t get out of.

Ryan Sproul struck twine on a 5-on-3 advantage for the Griffins. Just over a minute later, Kevin Porter took advantage of a spotty play by Ville Pokka and beat Michael Leighton to give Grand Rapids the lead for good. Jeff Hoggan stuck the dagger in the IceHogs with a goal 14:49 into the final frame.

Lines (Starters in italics)

Brandon Mashinter-Peter Regin-Ryan Hartman

Garret Ross-Phillip Danault-Mark McNeill

Spencer Abbott-Dennis Rasmussen-Pierre-Cedric Labrie (A)

Matt Carey-Cody Bass (A)

 

Kirill Gotovets-Stephen Johns

Zach Miskovic (A)-Kyle Cumiskey

Ville Pokka-Keith Seabrook

Trevor vanReimsdyk

 

Michael Leighton

Scratches-Viktor Svedberg, Dillon Fournier, Drew LeBlanc, Dane Walters, Alex Broadhurst, Ryan Schnell.

Power Play (1-5)

Rasmussen-Mashinter-Danault-McNeill-Pokka

Carey-Regin-Abbott-Hartman-Johns

Penalty Kill (allowed a 5-on-3 goal in six chances)

Danault-Bass-Johns-Cumiskey

Labrie-McNeill-Pokka-Johns

Abbott-Regin-Miskovic-Cumiskey

 

Sunday, March 15-Rockford 4, Chicago 3

The Hogs got to work after a scoreless opening twenty. Midway through the second period, Rockford got on the board on a Brandon Mashinter redirect of a Ville Pokka shot. The IceHogs built on that lead when Spencer Abbott picked off a pass in the Chicago zone. Weaving toward the Wolves net, Abbott beat Jordan Binnington at the 17:27 mark to make it 2-0 IceHogs.

A minute and nineteen seconds later, Abbott fed Ryan Hartman while the Hogs were on the power play. Though Hartman’s skates were below the goal line, he still managed to thread the puck past Binnington for a 3-0 Rockford lead.

Shane Harper made it 3-1 in the eighth minute of the third period but the IceHogs got an empty net goal from Mark McNeill with 1:39 left. The Wolves scored twice in the final minute to make it interesting but Rockford held on for the win.

Lines (Starters in italics)

Garret Ross-Phillip Danault-Mark McNeill

Brandon Mashinter-Peter Regin (A)-Spencer Abbott

Matt Carey-Cody Bass-Ryan Hartman

Pierre-Cedric Labrie (A)-Drew LeBlanc-Dane Walters

 

Dillon Founier-Ville Pokka

Kyle Cumiskey-Keith Seabrook

Kirill Gotovets-Trevor vanReimsdyk

 

Antti Raanta

Scratches-Zach Miskovic, Steven Johns, Viktor Svedberg, Dennis Rasmussen, Alex Broadhurst, Ryan Schnell.

Power Play (1-4)

Fournier-Regin-Abbott-Hartman-Carey

Ross-Danault-McNeill-Cumiskey-Seabrook

Penalty Kill (allowed a goal on four Wolves chances)

Bass-Walters-Fournier-Cumiskey

Danault-Regin-Pokka-Gotovets

McNeill-Labrie-Seabrook-Cumiskey

 

What’s Ahead

The IceHogs host the Adirondack Flames on Wednesday and Saturday, then the Texas Stars come to town on Sunday afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts