By Chris Block
RYAN HARTMAN SUSPENDED
American Hockey League on Wednesday suspended IceHogs forward Ryan Hartman for 1 game as result of a high-sticking incident in Monday afternoon’s 4-1 loss to the Chicago Wolves.
The incident took place at 18:44 of the first period along the half wall in the IceHogs’ zone nearest the Rockford bench.
Hartman was looking to play a puck off the wall when Wolves’ forward Colin Fraser converged. Hartman appeared to be looking to lift Fraser’s stick, but what wound up happening was the blade of Hartman’s stick forked Fraser in the face.
There was no immediate penalty called by referees Jarrod Ragusin or Tom Chmielewski (who referred the Blackhawks-Coyotes game in Chicago the next night) as play continued and Fraser returned to the Wolves’ bench.
Fraser needed 17 stitches to close the cut along his chin. After the period ended, Fraser went to the officials and they decided to assess a double-minor high-sticking penalty against Hartman beginning with the start of the second period. Rockford’s P-C Labrie scored a short-handed goal 46 seconds into the second period and the Wolves’ power play failed to convert on that four minute man-advantage.
Colin Fraser returned to the game and picked up an empty-net goal with 1:43 left in the contest.
Hartman will serve his suspension when the IceHogs are in Iowa on Thursday night to face the Wild. He’ll be eligible to return for Rockford’s final game before the All-Star Break, on Saturday when the IceHogs host the team with the AHL’s best record, Utica Comets.
MARK MCNEILL GETS NORDSTROM’S ALL-STAR GAME SPOT
Also on Wednesday, the AHL announced roster changes for the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic at Turning Stone Casino in Utica this coming Sunday and Monday.
Mark McNeill was added to the AHL West All-Star team, taking the place of Joakim Nordstrom, who is on recall with the Blackhawks, thus won’t be able to participate.
McNeill, who turns 22 next month, has 12 goals and 11 assists in 29 games this season. He missed a month of games after suffering a leg injury in a game in Milwaukee on November 15th.
Since his return on December 16th, McNeill has played in all fourteen IceHogs games, notching 3 goals and 4 assists. The second-year pro is averaging 2.1 shots on goal per contest. McNeill leads all IceHogs skaters in points per game played at 0.79.
T.J. Brennan, previously elected to the All-Star festivities, will start for the Western squad along with Jacob Markstrom (G), Bobby Sanguinett (D), Connor Brown, Cal O’Reilly and Teemu Pulkkinen.
Other players who were originally named to the All-Star game, but are currently in the NHL an unavailable include David Pastrnak (Providence Bruins), Nikita Nesterov (Syracuse Crunch-TB Lightning), Nick Shore (Manchester Monarchs-LA Kings), Anton Lander (Oklahoma City Barons) and Zavier Ouellet (Grand Rapids Griffins.)
The All-Star game will be played on Monday January 26 at 7pm Eastern. The All-Star Skills Competition takes place Sunday at 8pm Eastern. Each event will be carried live on many of the regional sports networks that also broadcast NHL games. CSN Chicago will as well, carrying the 2-hour Skills Competition live on Sunday night, then the game itself Monday night from 7-10pm central. Both events will air live in the Rockford area on Antenna TV channel 23.2.
FORMER ICEHOGS EQUIPMENT STAFF MEMBER JOINING BLACKHAWKS
D.J. Kogut, a former Rockford IceHogs’ and two-time Chicago Wolves’ equipment staff member, is joining the Chicago Blackhawks in the open assistant equipment manager position, which was formerly held by the late Clint Reif. Kogut signed his Blackhawks contract a week ago.
Kogut will conclude his duties with the Chicago Wolves this week and join the Blackhawks after the NHL All-Star Break for the upcoming Ice Show road trip.
Craig Kogut, D.J.’s father, has headed the Chicago Wolves’ equipment staff for many years.