Rockford weekend wrap-up: IceHogs salvage first win on final night of 3-game weekend

{A huge thanks to Jon Fromi for sending in this IceHogs report since I was away this weekend for a wedding and have yet to see a second of the weekend’s games. –Chris Block}

By Jon Fromi

The Rockford IceHogs managed to remove the goose egg from the win column in their fifth game of the 2012-13 season. After a weekend that started with back to back losses to Peoria and Charlotte, a crowd of just over 2,905 at the BMO Harris Bank Center watched Jimmy Hayes score his first two goals of the season in the third period as the IceHogs defeated the Checkers Sunday by a score of 5-4.

Charlotte found several ways to bounce pucks past Alec Richards, but Rockford was able to prevail with an offensive effort that was absent in a pair of one-goal defeats Friday and Saturday. Richards, who spelled Carter Hutton, picked up the win in his first start of the season, making 23 saves on 27 shots.

After a scoreless first period, Rockford staked a 2-0 advantage on goals by Martin St. Pierre and Brandon Pirri. St. Pierre took a feed from Marcus Kruger in the slot just 58 seconds into the second period to open the scoring. Pirri took a pass from Ben Youds late in the eighth minute, pulled up in the high slot, and sent a slap shot over the blocker of Justin Peters to give the IceHogs a two-goal lead at the 7:55 mark.

The big momentum shift came moments later, when Chris Terry skated into the corner of the Rockford zone and sent the puck toward the net. The puck bounced off of Nick Leddy and past Richards at the 10:20 mark to make it 2-1 Rockford. The Checkers got a power play at 11:15 when Brandon Bollig sent a clearing attempt over the glass. Fifteen ticks later, Drayson Bowman deflected a Zac Dalpe shot past Richards to knot the game at two goals apiece.

The score remained tied until midway through the final frame, when Hayes was on the scoring end of a sweet series of passes. St. Pierre hit Kruger from the slot to the left side and Kruger found Hayes in front of a downed Peters for the tap in to give Rockford a 3-2 lead.

Charlotte responded after Phillipe Paradis was called for tripping at 9:30. Zach Boychuk zipped a shot past Richards from the right circle at the 10:45 mark to make it 3-3. The Checker’s Tim Wallace was called for a slash a few minutes later after Ben Youds made a strong move to the net. Andrew Shaw missed a rebound attempt, but the IceHogs had a power play with 7:25 to play.

Taking an entry pass from St. Pierre, Joe Lavin streaked along the side boards and into the corner, where he found Hayes open in the left slot. Hayes buried the opportunity over the glove of Peters and Rockford was up 4-3 at 14:24 of the third.

In the nineteenth minute, the IceHogs got what turned out to be a huge insurance goal off the stick of Bollig. Shaw provided the assist from behind the net and Bollig went five-hole on Peters to garner Rockford a 5-3 advantage. Dalpe found the net with four seconds to play to close the gap to 5-4, but Rockford won the ensuing face off and ran out the clock.

Hayes was first star of the game, but St. Pierre also had a big night. He was the second start of the game with a goal and a pair of assists to go with a plus-two rating on the night. Youds, who was the game’s third star, and Kruger also had two helpers.

The win helped wash away some of the bad taste from two games that were there to be won earlier that weekend. On both Friday in Peoria and Saturday at the BMO Center, the IceHogs got on the board first, gave up the next two goals, then failed to pull even in the final 20 minutes.

Pete LeBlanc got things off to a promising start Friday. The forward notched his first goal of the season just 1:57 into the game with the Rivermen, hitting from the slot off an assist by Pirri. Jake Allen held firm for the remaining 58 minutes.

Peoria’s two second period goals came from T.J. Hensick and Jaden Schwartz. Both were assisted by Derek Nesbitt and came at the 12:40 and 16:13 marks in the middle frame.

The Checkers took the lead in similar fashion after Kruger got Rockford on the board with a put back of a Ryan Stanton slap shot. Jeremy Morin seemingly put the IceHogs up a pair, but his goal was waved off because a Rockford skater was in the crease.

Both Charlotte goals Saturday came from the stick of Bowman. A power play tally, the first Rockford has given up this season, tied the game in the ninth minute of the second period. Then, at the 3:11 point of the final stanza, Bowman put back a rebound of a Dalpe shot for the eventual game-winner.

The IceHogs continued to play well on the penalty kill, staving off a 5-3 Charlotte advantage in the third period. Rockford kept the deficit at one and had a power play late, but couldn’t convert.

Slappers:

  • Carter Hutton saved 72 of 76 shots but took two defeats. In four starts, Hutton has a 2.24 goals against average and a .929 save percentage and has yet to win.
  • IceHogs record after  five games is 1-3-0-1
  • Apparently no Rockford station has decided to broadcast the IceHogs over the free airwaves. Mike Peck is only available via the internet or on cable alongside the IceHogs AHL Live simulcast on Comcast.
  • After Denis Savard was dropped off at center ice via Hamboni for the puck drop Saturday night, his ride left the ice.  The Hall Of Fame center had to make his way off the ice on foot. Fans can ride in the new Hamboni between periods. I assume paying customers get a round trip.
  • Stanton attempted a hip check in the second period, missed, and left the game after a collision with the boards. He returned for the third period.
  • Kyle Beach earned a five-minute major boarding penalty in the first period Sunday, but remained in the contest. Paradis played Sunday after he rattled Justin Krueger’s head against the glass in the third period the night before. Paradis, who now leads the IceHogs with 23 penalty minutes, was also given a game misconduct for the hit. Krueger returned to action Saturday but was not in the lineup Sunday. I wonder if the league will hand out any further punishment.
  • Two and a half minutes after Paradis earned Rockford five-minutes of penalty kill time, Shawn Lalonde was called for roughing. The IceHogs came up big, but that was a pretty ill-advised course of action with your team trying to get back into the game.
  • Morin had a tough weekend, having a goal called off Saturday and missing a breakaway opportunity Sunday.
  • The IceHogs sent Brandon Svensden out to sign between periods Sunday despite the elaborate cast he is sporting on his right arm. Rob Flick was a scratch along with Dylan Olsen and Brandon Saad. All would have been better choices to sign; they each are pretty big draws with the fans and all have use of both arms.
  • Marcus Kruger gets tossed out of a lot of draws. At least he did this weekend.
  • Saturday’s home opener, according to the league, drew 5,518. The total announced at the game was far less than that, however. It was a vocal crowd and it included a ton of scouts and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, but it wasn’t a full house by any stretch.
  • Thursday night’s seats for the IceHogs game with San Antonio are free, thanks to WIFR-TV in Rockford. Here’s a free tip for you fellow season-ticket holders: pick up a freebie and save your usual ticket to swap out for another seat later in the season. Then just sit in your regular seat. You’re welcome.

Jon Fromi

Jon is also a featured Blackhawks and Chicago White Sox columnist at Bleacher Report.

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3 Responses to Rockford weekend wrap-up: IceHogs salvage first win on final night of 3-game weekend

  1. Thanks for the informative recap. Why was youds sent to the echo, was it simply numbers at Rockford ?

    • I’m not sure of the exact reason, but Lalonde would have the right to decline a demotion to the ECHL, under the previous CBA. Not saying that’s what happened here, because I don’t know, and I haven’t seen Saturday or Sunday’s games yet. But it is a little confusing Youds would be sent down after apparently playing pretty well on Sunday. Dent likes Youds as well but at the end of the day he’s not a Blackhawks prospects and all the focus right now is on developing and mentoring the guys under contract to the Blackhawks who they still see potential in.

      • It wouldn’t be a shock for Dahlbeck to follow Youds to Toledo, would it? With all the d-men healthy, seven should be enough in Rockford and he would figure to get more minutes in the ECHL for the time being.

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