Nov 012013
 

By Chris Block

Over the initial ten games of this IceHogs’ season, on four occasions Rockford came back from 2-goal deficits to emerge victorious.  In one of those games, their home opener against Grand Rapids on October 19th, Rockford actually trailed by 2 goals twice in the contest only to eventually attain the two points.

There is something to note about the character of a team when 4 of its 7 wins have come in dramatic comeback fashion.  Although, it can also leave behind a trail of just as many questions as it does answers.  And one thing is for sure – at this level, no team is going to maintain a .700 record for very long when the team is consistently falling behind early in games.

In Rockford, on Thursday night, the IceHogs afforded the Charlotte Checkers a 3-0 advantage before staging three unanswered tallies of their own, only to lose to the Checkers, 5-3.

On Friday night, Rockford bused north to Milwaukee for the first of twelve matches this season with the Nashville Predators AHL affiliate.

The IceHogs got goals from rookies Mark McNeill and Alex Broadhurst in Milwaukee.  But the Admirals jumped out to an early lead and then stretched a two-goal gap on Rockford midway through the game that Rockford this time would not close. Continue reading »

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Oct 242013
 

By Chris Block

Twenty four hours after surrendering a two-goal lead and losing in Hamilton, the Rockford IceHogs performed a comeback of their own, scoring three unanswered goals to defeat the Toronto Marlies, 3-2 before a crowd of 4,184 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.

Rockford was down 2-0 midway through the game when a Drew Leblanc offensive zone penalty put the IceHogs penalty killers on a crucial kill.  That unit was up to the task and the momentum gained from that stand carried over into back-to-back tallies from Alex and Terry Broadhurst to tie the game before the second period expired.

Jeremy Morin then scored late in the third period to give the IceHogs a lead they would not relinquish. Continue reading »

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Oct 232013
 

By Chris Block

Going into Tuesday night’s matchup, the IceHogs had never managed a regulation win over the Hamilton Bulldogs in ten previous meetings.

They still have yet to earn one.

Rockford held a 2-goal lead with 3:05 to play in the third period in Hamilton, Ontario on Tuesday night, only to watch the Bulldogs score the next three goals in a 3:31 stretch, and take a 5-4 overtime win before a sparse Copps Coliseum crowd, announced as 1,990.

The IceHogs got two goals from rookie winger Mark McNeill, as well as Garret Ross’s first professional tally.  But it was the inability to hold a two-goal lead late stained what was otherwise a solid road performance.

Rockford was playing its AHL-leading sixth road contest of season.  The IceHogs came in holding a 3-2 road record.  Continue reading »

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Oct 072013
 

By Chris Block

Oftentimes when a good young player graduates a level there is at least a brief adjustment, or feeling out period.

And, in most cases, at some point, there are those moments or nights when you can almost witness that proverbial light bulb going off in the player’s head – when he, himself, becomes convinced his abilities do apply at that next level.  On a shift, or a moment of pure instinct, his skills take over and he leaves behind the indecisiveness and over-thinking that naturally occurs when adapting to a new environment.

Prior to game two of the IceHogs 2013-14 season on Sunday in suburban Austin, Texas, Mark McNeill had appeared in 13 games in an IceHogs sweater and was without a point.  Seven of those came at the end of his 18 year old junior season, and five more at the end of last season.  In those late season cameos, McNeill barely showed even brief flashes of the attributes that made him the 18th overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Continue reading »

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Sep 082013
 

By Brad Vandenberk

The Chicago Junior Blackhawks played their final game in the annual rookie tournament in London, Ontario on Sunday afternoon, this time facing off with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Mac Carruth got the start in goal for the Hawks, while the Pens went with Tristan Jarry.

Forward Chris Desousa worked his way back in the lineup edging out Johnny McGuire.  Bobby Shea was back in on the defense pairings with Adam Henry scratched.

Less than a minute into the opening period, Pat Mullane throws an elbow trying to separate a Pens d-man from the puck.   Continue reading »

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Apr 142013
 

By Chris Block

One night after picking up a huge 7-3 victory over the Chicago Wolves in their regular season home finale, the Rockford IceHogs hit the road, again set out to keep their AHL postseason bid alive in a crucial divisional matchup with the 8th place Milwaukee Admirals.

Rockford came into Saturday’s contest in 9th place in the Western Conference, tied at 81 in points with Milwaukee, though the Admirals hold two games in hand over the IceHogs heading into the final week of the regular season.

On the heels of Brandon Pirri’s franchise record 6-point (1 goal, 5 assists) night and Ben Smith’s hat-trick in the win over the Wolves, the IceHogs had to beat the Admirals on Saturday if they had any hopes of sneaking into the postseason.

Backed by a 20 save performance by Carter Hutton and goals by Adam Clendening, Ben Smith and Klas Dahlbeck, Rockford did just that, defeating the Admirals 3-1 on Saturday before a crowd of 8,895 fans at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee. Continue reading »

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Mar 112013
 
JoakimNordstrom_AIK_JesperZerman_seJoakim Nordstrom, photo credit: jesperzerman.se

By Chris Block

With the European leagues, U.S. collegiate hockey and Canadian junior hockey seasons winding down and beginning each of its playoffs, several Chicago Blackhawks prospects will soon arrive in Rockford, Illinois to cap off their seasons with a trial showcase at the American Hockey League level.

As we noted Sunday on Twitter, the first of those prospects will arrive in Rockford later this week.

Joakim Nordstrom, who the Blackhawks selected with the final pick (90th overall) in the 3rd round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, is expected to join the Rockford IceHogs by the end of the week. Continue reading »

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Jul 142012
 

By Chris Block

TTMI contributor and HockeysFuture.com Blackhawks writer Brad Gardner joined me Saturday afternoon for a special Chicago Blackhawks 2012 Prospect Camp review edition of PuckChatter~Radio.

Brad was on hand for all five days this summer’s camp and breaks down the performances of the players involved.

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Some of the topics discussed on the show….

-TTMI/PuckChatter~Radio turns 3 today
-Stephen Johns skips out on this camp
-Brandon Saad, Teuvo Teravainen and Phillip Danault a cut above
-Which prospects we’ll see next in a Hawks uniform
-Mark McNeill a year later
-Chris Calnan’s next move
-The goaltending
-Joakim Nordstrom and Klas Dahlbeck coming to America
-Garret Ross the next Shaw?
-Kevin Hayes improving
-Kent Simpson or Mac Carruth
-Son of Chris Chelios
-A 6-foot 9-inch Swedish defenseman
-And much, much more

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