By Chris Block
Looking to return to their recent winning ways and stay within striking distance of first-place Grand Rapids ahead of two all-important matchups next week at the BMO with those same Griffins, the Rockford IceHogs (17-14-1-1) traveled to Hamilton, Ontario on Friday night to face a down-and-out Hamilton Bulldogs squad.
Hamilton came into Friday’s contest against Rockford with the worst record (11-18-1-2) in the AHL. Hamilton, the AHL affiliate to the Montreal Canadiens, had lost 8 of their past 9 contests since defeating Rockford 6-4 at the BMO Harris Bank Center on December 15th.
Worse yet, Hamilton had not scored a goal in more than three games before facing the IceHogs for the second and final time this season. The Bulldogs had been shutout in each of their previous three games, all road losses.
For these reasons, and perhaps a little too much confidence in the way they’ve played of late, the IceHogs may have taken the Bulldogs for granted on Friday night.
Despite the IceHogs getting out to a quick start, sloppy passing and poor work in the defensive zone contributed to a 3-1 Rockford loss before a crowd of 4,505 at Copps Coliseum on Friday.
Backup Alec Richards got the start in net, his first in nine games.