You have to focus on what’s right in front of you and I think at that moment … I was focused on winning two points against Grand Rapids and fortunately that night we did. –Ben Smith
With the NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining dispute having been settled and NHL training camps set to commence in less than three days, Blackhawks prospect Ben Smith took to the BMO Harris Bank Center ice in Rockford on January 11th to face off with the IceHogs division-rival, and Detroit Red Wings farm team, the Grand Rapids Griffins.
At this time Smith was the IceHogs’ leader in goals scored, game-winning goals, a member of both the first-team power play and penalty killing units and among the top three forwards in ice time on a nightly basis.
And on a team up to that point which couldn’t help itself but take careless or undisciplined minor penalty after minor penalty, Smith had just 4 penalty minutes on the season and had not stepped foot in the penalty box since mid October. That’s quite the accomplishment for the gritty and tenacious two-way forward Ben Smith is. Read more »
The American Hockey League dealt the IceHogs a significant blow on Tuesday for Rockford’s part in this past Saturday night’s bench-clearing brawl with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Rockford was issued 11-game suspensions in all, while Grand Rapids will have center Louis-Marc Aubry suspended for 6 games and right wing Triston Grant suspended for 1 game.
Rob Flick received a mandatory 6-game suspension for being the first IceHogs’ player to jump off the bench and get involved in the brawl. Aubry’s suspension matched Flick’s for being identified as the first Grand Rapids player to jump off the Griffins’ bench.
The newest IceHogs player, left winger Kenndal McArdle (who was playing in just his second game as a member of the IceHogs in Saturday’s night’s contest) was suspended 1 game. McArdle was issued a game misconduct on Saturday night for jumping off the bench and being the Third Man In an ongoing fight.
Wade Brookbank was also suspended for one game, as was Kyle Beach, whose actions precipitated the Griffins leaving their bench.
IceHogs head coach Ted Dent was also suspended two games. Dent will serve his suspension this weekend when the IceHogs host the Chicago Wolves on Friday and then the Oklahoma City Barons on Saturday night.
The IceHogs have now accumulated 25-games in suspensions over the first 41 games of the season. The list: Andrew Shaw (7), Rob Flick (6), Shawn Lalonde (3), Kyle Beach (2), Ted Dent (2), Dylan Olsen (2), Wade Brookbank (2), Kenndal McArdle (1).
As noted on the site yesterday, Flick served the first game of his six-game suspension when he was held out of Monday’s 6-3 loss to Texas by the league. Flick will be eligible to return on February 8th at Peoria.
There is still a lot more to come from Saturday night’s bench-clearing brawl between the IceHogs and Grand Rapids Griffins before a sellout crowd of 6,219 fans at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford. [Video of the brawl is posted again at the bottom of this post]
230 penalty minutes in all were dealt out in Saturday’s game. 202 of those came as result of the brawl.
Frustrations from an IceHogs perspective had boiled over at the 11:58 mark of the second period after Grand Rapids forward Landon Ferraro scored a power play goal to put the visiting team ahead 6-3.
The IceHogs had been assessed five-straight minor penalties by the officials in the first eleven minutes of the second period alone and the Griffins had capitalized on two of those opportunities with the man-advantage. To that point in the contest, Grand Rapids was 3 for 6 on the power play. Rockford had just one power play chance to that point and it resulted in a Dylan Olsen goal, giving the IceHogs a 1-0 lead at 3:57 of the first period.
No one on the Rockford side after the game was entirely blaming the refs for the lopsided power plays going in Grand Rapids favor. The IceHogs players and coach admitted most of the calls against them were warranted. Although, it was the hooking call referee Joe Sullivan gave Terry Broadhurst that gave Grand Rapids the power play that Landon Ferraro would use to put his team up 6-3 that had the IceHogs livid with the officiating. Read more »
Video of the long brawl that took place at the 11:58 mark of the second period between the Rockford IceHogs and Grand Rapids Griffins.
This video doesn’t capture the entire sequence of events. A little after this footage ends, as the officials were about to begin the process of sorting out the penalties and game misconducts, Adam Clendening and Tomas Tatar somehow ended up together on the far side of the ice across from the IceHogs bench and those two squared off and fought.
Okay, the lockout has gone on long enough. Normally this time a year I’d be watching Blackhawk games and parts of other NHL games throughout the week. While walking the dogs Tuesday night it dawned on me that I had just spent the previous hour watching a show called Swamp People. I’m not sure which is worse; my sudden affinity for the Rockford IceHogs, or watching the swampers yank 10 to 12 foot gators out of the pond. Pray for me as I’m quite certain Pawn Stars or Say Yes to the Dress, are not far in the offing.
In a way, now that the ‘Hogs have caught my interest, I wouldn’t be terribly upset with the cancellation of the rest of the NHL season. $10 to $20 dollars for a very good seat beats the hell out of paying $48 in the 300 section at the United Center. Read more »
Riding a four game losing streak (0-3-1-0), the Rockford IceHogs drive 93 miles northeast tonight where they’ll visit the BMO Harris Bradley Center to face off with the Milwaukee Admirals for the second time in six days.
The lone point Rockford has picked up in those four contests came in a 4-3 overtime loss in Milwaukee this past Friday. Rockford trailed the Admirals 3-1 midway through that game until goals by Brandon Pirri and captain Martin St. Pierre forced an overtime session. However, a breakdown in the IceHogs end resulted in Kevin Henderson surprising Carter Hutton with the game-winning shot a minute and forty-five seconds in to send the IceHogs back to Rockford with only the one consolation standings point.
Although the IceHogs (13-12-1-1) have lost both of their games since dropping first-place to the Griffins in Grand Rapids on December 9th, that one point earned in Milwaukee has been enough force Rockford back into a tie with Grand Rapids for the top spot in the Midwest Division. The Griffins has also lost their past two games since moving into first in the division. Grand Rapids hosts the Rochester Americans tonight at Van Andel Arena.
The Midwest division race is as tight as it could possibly be, now a third of the way through the 76 game American Hockey League season. One point separates last-place Milwaukee (12-11-2-1, 27 points) from Grand Rapids and Rockford in the top spot. Read more »