Tag Archives: Evan Brophey

PK perfect, Taffe clutch; IceHogs prevail 4-3 in OT, to be without Brophey after blindside head shot

 
The IceHogs faithful do finally have something to cheer about.

After dropping 9 of 12 home games dating back to mid-January, the Rockford IceHogs 4-3 overtime victory on Friday night gave the team something it hasn’t had all season – a 3-game home winning streak.

Friday’s win over the Hamilton Bulldogs also put the IceHogs within one game of the .500 mark in their own barn (16-17-2-2), and two wins short of an overall .500 record (30-32-4-5).

The IceHogs haven’t had a losing home record since entering the AHL in 2007. Including Saturday night’s contest, they have three dates remaining on the home slate, wrapping on April 8 & 9. Rockford will finish their 2010-11 season at Allstate Arena against the Chicago Wolves on Sunday April 10 at 3 o’clock.

Rockford will first try for home victory number 17 on Saturday night when they host the Milwaukee Admirals. The Admirals defeated Chicago in Milwaukee on Friday 4-2. With the win, the Admirals stayed one point ahead of the Houston Aeros for the top spot in the West division and best record in the Western conference.

On Friday, the IceHogs persevered just enough through a tough third period to have a little Jeff Taffe magic lift them to victory in OT. Read more »

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IceHogs look to build off win in Peoria, host Milwaukee tonight

After a spirited 4-2 win last night in Peoria, the IceHogs return home to MetroCentre in Rockford tonight for a clash with West Division leading Milwaukee Admirals.

Tonight will be the 8th in 10 season matchups between these two teams.  Rockford comes in 2-3-1-1 against Milwaukee this season.  The IceHogs have been outscored, 16-20.  Rockford’s power play has lit the lamp 5 times in 26 chances (19.2%), while the penalty killing units have held Milwaukee to just four goals (24-28, 85.7%).  Five of these games have essentially been decided by one goal (the Feb 4th contest at MIL saw Brett Palin pot an empty-netter to give the Admirals a 4-2 victory) and three have needed overtime, two of those extending to a shootout.

Rockford should be looking to extract a measure of redemption for a porous showing in the Bradley Center two weeks ago when the Admirals jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the 16:45 mark of the opening period.  IceHogs head coach made two goaltending switches in the first period; Alec Richards to Hannu Toivonen and back to Richards.

Hannu Toivonen lasted barely two minutes in relief of Richards, allowing two goals on three shots.

With Richards securing Rockford’s win last night, he has now backstopped the team to their only three wins over the past five and a half weeks. 

Look for Richards between the pipes tonight.

Jeff Taffe continues to carry the burden of offense on his back along with his center, Ryan Potulny.

Taffe has a 13-game point streak going into tonight’s game.  9 goals and 11 assists over that stretch.  He’s also a minus-7 with 39 shots on goal (23.1 shooting percentage) in that time.  A lot of the damage he’s done this season has come with the man advantage.

Ryan Potulny has a 5-game point streak going as well.  4 goals and 3 assists for Potulny.  His plus/minus is even, with 14 shots getting to the net (28.6%) in his last five games.

Taffe is just two games shy now of the IceHogs’ AHL record for consecutive games point scoring streak.  A marker held by Martin St. Pierre.

Tonight’s scratches:  Brandon Pirri, Ryan Stanton, Jassen Cullimore, Ivan Vishnevskiy and Jeremy Morin.

SDP recalled

Rockford recalled 6-foot 7-inch defenseman Simon Danis-Pepin from the Toledo Walleye (ECHL) today.  The Montreal native and former Maine Black Bear appeared in 22 games with the Walleye since getting the assignment from Rockford to Toledo on January 8th.  Danis-Pepin played with Toledo last night in a 8-5 loss at Kalamazoo.  He was held off the scoresheet, but was a minus-4.

With Cullimore and Vishnevskiy already out with short-term injuries, the IceHogs were without an extra defenseman.

Danis-Pepin was drafted by the Blackhawks 61st overall in the 2nd round of the 2006 NHL Draft.  He signed his three-year entry level deal officially on July 8, 2009 and is under contract to the organization through the 2011-12 season.

In that game in Kalamazoo last night, Mitch Versteeg, the brother of former Blackhawks and current Phiadelphia Flyers winger Kris Versteeg, recorded a “Gordie Howe Hat-trick”, scoring a goal, picking up an assist on the first goal of the game and getting a fighting major with 3:29 left in the game.  Mitch is a 22-year old, 6’2 – 205 pound defenseman with no NHL affiliation.

Bill Peters’ lines tonight vs Milwaukee look like this:

Rob Klinkhammer – Ryan Potulny – Jeff Taffe

Mathis Olimb – Evan Brophey – Ben Smith

Kyle Hagel – Pete Leblanc – Igor Makarov

Brandon Bollig – Zach Torquato – Kyle Beach

On the defense:

Garnet Exelby – Dylan Olsen

Brian Connelly – Simon Danis-Pepin

Wade Brookbank – Shawn Lalonde

Notes:

Kyle Beach’s demotion to the fourth line, or stay there, is in no doubt related to an undisciplined slashing penalty Beach took late in the second period last night at Peoria.  With Beach in the box, Mark Cundari tied the game for the Rivermen.  Luckily for Beach and the Hogs, Jeff Taffe posted his second of the night moments later and Rockford would hold on.  But not enough to get Beach out of Peters’ doghouse tonight apparently.  Old habits die hard.

Zach Torquato was also recalled from Toledo.  He’s on an AHL contract with Rockford.

Consecutive games without a goal:  Jassen Cullimore (60), Chris DiDomenico (19), Simon Danis-Pepin (19), Shawn Lalonde (19), Dylan Olsen (19), Nick Leddy (12), Ivan Vishnevskiy (12), Mathis Olimb (11), Kyle Hagel (8), Ben Smith (8), Brandon Bollig (7), Igor Makarov (7), Wade Brookbank (6), Andy Bohmbach (5), Evan Brophey (5), Kyle Beach (3), Brandon Pirri (3), Brian Connelly (2), Pete Leblanc (2), Garnet Exelby (1), Ryan Johnson (1), Jeremy Morin (1), Ryan Stanton (1), Rob Klinkhammer (-), Ryan Potulny (-), Jeff Taffe (-)

Consecutive games without a point: Jassen Cullimore (16), Dylan Olsen (16), Chris DiDomenico (14), Ivan Vishnevskiy (12), Kyle Hagel (8), Brandon Bollig (7), Wade Brookbank (6), Evan Brophey (5), Ben Smith (5), Simon Danis-Pepin (4), Mathis Olimb (3), Pete Leblanc (2), Brandon Pirri (2), Garnet Exelby (1), Ryan Johnson (1), Shawn Lalonde (1), Nick Leddy (1), Igor Makarov (1), Jeremy Morin (1), Kyle Beach (-), Andy Bohmbach (-), Brian Connelly (-), Rob Klinkhammer (-), Ryan Potulny (-), Ryan Stanton (-), Jeff Taffe (-),

-Evan Brophey is without a helper in his last 21 games played

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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IceHogs mid-season swoon in detail, Morin injury update, stats and more

Rockford continues its busiest week of the season tonight when they bus to Rosemont, Illinois for the 7th of 10 matchups this season with the Chicago Wolves.  The two teams have split the games even so far.

As a team, the IceHogs have been nothing short of awful of late.

Rockford has lost 13 of their last 15 games (2-11-2-0).  Seven of those losses have come on home ice.  When this recent stretch of losses began back on January 21st, Rockford was three games above the .500 mark (19-16-1-4) having won seven of ten.

Today, the IceHogs (21-27-3-4) are deeply trenched in last place in the West division, trailing 7th place Chicago by 15 points.  With only 25 games left in the regular season, the IceHogs would essentially have to run the table now in order to grab a spot in the postseason.  Just two teams in the league (Adirondack and Bridgeport) hold fewer wins than Rockford.

The chief culprit in this recent swoon has been some inexplicable poor starts.

Dating back to Jan 21st, Rockford is being outscored 27-11 in the opening period.  It gets a little better in the middle stanza (10gf-15ga) while the 3rd period rings dead-even (14-14).

On five occasions in the last 15 starts, Rockford has trailed by two or more goals after the opening twenty minutes.  Three times, they trailed by three or more.  On Feb 13 at Milwaukee, the IceHogs trailed after the first period 5-1.

While the goaltending of Alec Richards and Hannu Toivonen has been less than adequate at times over the downturn, Rockford’s defense has largely been to blame. Read more »

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IceHogs now streaking, hold off Rampage 2-1 on Monday; plus Morin injury notes

Goals by veterans Evan Brophey and Hugh Jessiman were just enough Monday afternoon for the Rockford IceHogs to take a 2-1 victory over the visiting San Antonio Rampage.

Despite a dramatic discrepancy in shots heading into the third period, 24-12 in favor of the IceHogs, the game remained scoreless until Evan Brophey beat San Antonio netminder Matt Climie for his 6th goal of the season.  The goal, 13 seconds into the period, ended Brophey’s 5-game goal drought.

Injury-plagued winger Hugh Jessiman struck next , giving Rockford a 2-0 lead when his one-timer from the left-side half wall found the back of the net.  Jessiman, who missed a month (Dec 8-Jan 2) with a lower-body injury, had not scored since November 12th.  This marked his 3rd goal of the season and first in 10 games.

Rockford has managed to put a string of wins together and put themselves 3 games above the .500 mark as they’ve hit the halfway point of the 80-game AHL season.  Before Saturday night’s win in Chicago, the IceHogs hadn’t been more than a game above .500 all season.  Monday’s win gives the IceHogs a three-game win streak, their first of such length and longest so far this season.

For the IceHogs, it has been inconsistency and lackluster starts which have plagued them most. Read more »

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Allen, Peoria Slam IceHogs 5-0

Bill Peters’ search for answers has so far turned up dry.

After watching his team come out flat inexplicably for fifth time in this season’s first nine home games, the Rockford head coach retreated to his bench on Saturday night exasperated for the third period.

By my count, Peters used at least twelve different line combinations over the final twenty minutes.  It was orchestrated chaos and Peters’ team responded with its best period of the night, but that wasn’t even enough to get on the scoreboard.

Rockford outshot Peoria 12-6 in the third and 31-21 in the game but Peoria won the only count that matters, defeating IceHogs by a score of 5-0 at the MetroCentre.

In the win, Peoria rookie Jake Allen set a Rivermen AHL (2005-current) franchise record for shutouts in a single season by white-washing the Rockford shooters 31 times, to post his 4th shutout in just 8 starts.  The previous Peoria shutout record (3) was set by Manny Legace during the 2008-09 season.

Saturday’s was a team shutout.  Allen was very good and made some great stops locating pucks through screens and one-on-one challenges.  But his defense also cleared a lot of rebounds and beat the IceHogs to most of the loose pucks in the Peoria zone.

The latter point was the story of the night.  Rockford could not match Peoria’s intensity from the initial puck drop through to the final horn.  A few players tried and succeeded in spurts.  Garnet Exelby showed some snarl late in the first, but the score was already 3-0 by then.  Kyle Beach had his best, most physical shift in weeks with five minutes to go in the middle period.  Jeremy Morin stood up to Peoria defenders on occasion one night after getting into a spirited fight with Red Wings’ defensive prospect Brendan Smith. Read more »

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Bryan Bickell and other things, like Hugh Jessiman

While the team hasn’t officially acknowledged this, the Blackhawks have re-signed left-side power-winger Bryan Bickell to a three-year, one-way NHL contract.

According to a report by Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times, Bickell will earn salary dollars of $500,000, 525,000 and 600,000 over the next three seasons respectively, while his “cap hit” (the average payout of the contract which comes down to total dollar value divided by length) will be $541,666 for each season.

Bickell, 24, who was a favorite of head coach Joel Quenneville in his limited opportunity with the club this past season and playoff, will become an un-restricted free agent at the end of the contract, summer of 2013.

It’s interesting Bickell’s agent would pin his client down to such a low figure for the next three years when Bickell has a big chance to play an integral role with the Hawks going forward.  The deal is a steal for Stan Bowman.  At worst, he has an affordable third and fourth line guy, salary-wise, being as cheap as they come.  Enthusiastically, we could come to know Bickell as one of the bigger “bargains” in the National Hockey League two and three years from now.

I find it hard to believe Bickell couldn’t have negotiated a better deal.  Two-years on a one-way for the same money he agreed to could have landed him in a position to enroll in the arbitration process in 2012, one year short of his UFA year (as it sits now in the current CBA, for players with expiring contracts who are 27 or older).  As it looks now, Bickell could stand to earn a million or considerably more after the next two seasons should he see good minutes and continue to progress.  While Bickell hasn’t shown near the same scoring touch, he’s not all that far behind Troy Brouwer in terms of iimpact he can make with this club.  Specifically with the departure of Dustin Byfuglien, Quenneville needs all the size he can get, and thus Bickell will see a lot of important minutes if he can carry his level of performance over from the past spring.  This is after all the same Bryan Bickell who fit in nicely in spots on a line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.  That said, this deal could wind up more regrettable for Bickell should the new CBA push the UFA age back, or forward, a year or more when the new bargaining agreement is drawn (hopefully) prior to the 2012-13 season.

This is the kind of contract a young Canadian kid thinks is great when he first signs it.  Then he changes agents two years later when he realizes he wasted a chance to make a lot more money at a young age.

Great deal for Stan Bowman.  For Bickell, we’ll wait and see.

Evan Brophey, Blackhawks 3rd round pick (67th overall) in the 2005 Draft, re-signed a 1-year deal on Thursday.  This also hasn’t been acknowledged by the Hawks.  There is a method to these things that go over the heads in hockey operations. Read more »

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