It’s a little early to panic, but the IceHogs are off to an auspicious start to the season on their home ice.
On Saturday, a crowd of 4,715 witnessed the IceHogs’ fifth-consecutive home ice loss, a 3-0 shutout to the Peoria Rivermen. The defeat drops Rockford’s record to 1-5-0-0 at home and 5-7-1-0 overall.
Rockford now sits firmly in 5th and last place in the Midwest division, three points behind the Chicago Wolves, who have played just four of their thirteen games at Allstate Arena so far. The IceHogs are also four points behind 3rd place Milwaukee, who have two games in hand on Rockford.
“When we’re on the road, we’re just relaxed. We just go out and play our game. We’re tight and a little unsure of ourselves at home,” IceHogs captain Brandon Segal said after Saturday’s loss.
“It’s kind of frustrating because obviously these are the points we need right now and we’re not getting them.”
The IceHogs came into Saturday’s contest off a stunning 7-6 loss at Peoria on Friday. Stunning, because Rockford led that game 6-4 with a minute and change left in regulation only allow two quick Phil McRae goals and then to lose the game in overtime on a questionable goaltender interference non-call that left the IceHogs incensed.
Peoria’s offense picked up where it left off Friday night and got going early when T.J. Hensick gave the Rivermen an early 1-0 lead. Brett Sterling skating down the far half wall found Hensick streaking to along the goal line to the net, stringing a pass through two IceHogs defenders. Hensick held the pass and skated around a weak stick-check attempt by Alexander Salak and roofed an easy nonchalant backhander far right corner 2:54 into the game.