Ice Hogs

High On The Hog: Ouch!

The Rockford IceHogs were primed for a big weekend of action when they began play Friday night in Milwaukee. For a while, things looked great for the piglets. By “a while”, I mean nearly two full minutes.

The Hogs scored 36 seconds into their tilt in Milwaukee. Rockford was subsequently wiped out for the bulk of the first two games of a three-game set with the Admirals. When the smoke cleared at the BMO Harris Bank Center the following evening, the IceHogs had been outscored 12-4, losing both contests to a Milwaukee.

Two regulation wins would have given Rockford a solid hold of the final playoff spot in the Central Division and sent the Ads postseason hopes in peril. Instead, the IceHogs are just part of the four-team pack hoping to snatch a Calder Cup Playoffs berth.

Following Dennis Gilbert’s put-back of an Andreas Martinsen rebound, Milwaukee scored three times over the rest of Friday’s opening period. Viktor Ejdsell got Rockford to within a goal with a third-period power play strike. However, the Admirals scored just over a minute later to restore what was to become the winning margin, besting the Hogs 4-2.

Saturday night, Milwaukee roared out to a three-goal advantage through twenty minutes. The Hogs responded with a quick pair of goals by Jordan Schroeder and Joni Tuulola to get Rockford back in contention. The Ads beat Hogs goalie Collin Delia for two quick goals near the end of the middle frame, then piled on three more scores in the third period for an 8-2 shellacking.

 

Weekend Lines

My plan was to give you readers some honest to goodness recaps, complete with line combos, this week. Based on the manner in which Rockford was blown out in both games, however, I reconsidered that notion.

In my mind, though, I feel like I owe you some pairings. So…

Lines (Starters in italics)

Friday, March 22

Viktor Ejdsell-Peter Holland (A)-Jordan Schroeder

Andreas Martinsen (A)-Tyler Sikura (A)-William Pelletier

Anthony Louis-Luke Johnson-Alexandre Fortin

Dylan McLaughlin-Nathan Noel-Spencer Watson

Joni Tuulola-Henri Jokiharju

Lucas Carlsson-Dennis Gilbert

Blake Hillman-Dmitri Osipov

Anton Forsberg

 

Saturday, March 23

Viktor Ejdsell-Peter Holland-Jordan Schroeder

Andreas Martinsen-Tyler Sikura-William Pelletier

Dylan McLaughlin-Nathan Noel-Spencer Watson

Anthony Louis-Alexandre Fortin

Joni Tuulola-Henri Jokiharju

Lucas Carlsson-Dennis Gilbert

Blake Hillman-Dmitri Osipov

Josh McArdle

Collin Delia

 

Fun Facts

  • Going into Wednesday’s game with Milwaukee, the Hogs have converted just once in 38 power play chances against the Admirals.
  • The Ads now lead the season series with a 5-1-3 record in head-to-head action with Rockford.
  • All of the IceHogs wins over Milwaukee this season have been by one goal. The Admirals have now posted two, three and six-goal wins in addition to a pair of one-goal victories.
  • With both teams having played 67 games this season, the Admirals (71 points) are just a single point behind Rockford (72 points). Manitoba currently holds the fourth-place spot via points percentage.
  • With four points (2 G, 2 A), William Pelletier is the active leader in scoring for Rockford vs Milwaukee this season. Darren Raddysh, now out of the organization, has seven points against the Ads.
  • As you would expect, the two squads are getting a little chippy with all this together time. Dennis Gilbert and Mathieu Olivier had themselves a pretty spirited bout near the end of the first period Saturday. It’s Olivier’s eighth fighting major of the season and Gilbert’s seventh. Both are near the top of the league leaders in the catagory.
  • Rockford is tied with Cleveland for 26th in the AHL in FMs with 18, though that’s more than last season’s paltry total of 11 fights. Nathan Noel has three bouts for the Hogs, while Luke Johnson has two.
  • Johnson left Friday’s game in the third period after a nasty spill into the boards. He was not in the lineup Saturday, as the Hogs went with seven defensemen. Johnson is going to be missed down the stretch if he continues to be out of the lineup.
  • While Forsberg was no great shakes in net Friday, Delia was flat-out terrible the following night. Neither goalie got a lot of help from his skaters, but the Cucomonga Kid seemed a bit slow going post to post. Chalk it up to an off night and back to the grind this week.

 

This Week

The IceHogs really need to post a regulation win over Milwaukee Wednesday night at the BMO, because the top two clubs in the Central Division come a-calling over the weekend. Grand Rapids visits on Saturday night, while Chicago is in Rockford Sunday afternoon.

Follow me @JonFromi on twitter for news and notes on the guys in Rockford all season long.

 

 

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