Rockford is back in action this week with four games. The first, last night in Toronto, was an entertaining 3-2 shootout loss to the Marlies.
The IceHogs are wrapping up a seven-game road swing on Friday night in Milwaukee. Before then, they’ll meet the Bulldogs in Hamilton tonight.
Ben Smith scored both goals in last night’s loss. He now has goals in three consecutive games and five in his last six. Obviously Smith is getting his legs back now after missing a month with a concussion. With Ryan Potulny being traded to Ottawa, Smith has also now been moved up to the top line with Jeff Taffe, which also makes a big difference. Smith had played what was probably his best game as a pro the night he suffered a concussion on January 8th against Grand Rapids.
Hannu Toivonen has been very good in his last five appearances (2.27 gaa, .940 save %) going 2-0-1-1. He’s been, however, nasty bad in the shootout; allowing 14 out of 30 chances by in the skills competition. On Tuesday, Toronto converted on three of their four shootout turns before wrapping up the extra point.
Brandon Pirri returned to the lineup on Tuesday after missing five games with an undisclosed injury. We believe that was of the upper-body variety, but no one has confirmed as much to us. Same goes for Ivan Vishnevskiy, who has now missed twelve consecutive games.
Vishnevskiy was originally expected to return to the lineup this week, but his return is currently uncertain.
Jeremy Morin is still out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. As we’ve covered here before, no one is saying what his injury is officially, but its been rumored and written in other places as a concussion.
–Tuesday was “Clear Day” for American Hockey League teams. Each year at this time, all AHL clubs must submit a “clear day” roster. The significance of this is that only players listed on this roster can play for their respective clubs from now until the end of the regular season, continuing through playoffs.