Tag Archives: Hannu Toivonen

IceHogs extend point streak to 9 games with win over Milwaukee; Full recap, Faceoff stats, more notes

By Chris Block

A balanced attack and a solid goaltending performance turned in by Jason LaBarbera lifted the Rockford IceHogs to a 4-1 win over the visiting Milwaukee Admirals before a sold out crowd of 6,265 at the BMO Harris Bank Center on Saturday night.

Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin each scored goals to extend their personal point streaks while Brad Winchester and Terry Broadhurst bookended the IceHogs scoring to improve on the team’s season-best 9-game point streak (8-0-0-1).

Rockford moved to seven games above .500 while notching their 28th victory of the season.  The IceHogs finished last season nine games above the .500 mark only to watch Milwaukee eliminate them from the playoffs on the final day of the 2012-13 regular season in a win at Peoria.

Vinny Saponari scored the loan goal for Milwaukee on Saturday.  Rockford controlled the first period, benefitted from some weak goaltending on the Admirals side and held on while being outplayed much of the second and third periods. Read more »

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IceHogs release Lebda, Sign Four; Karlsson Visa Issue Delays Debut; How Carter Hutton’s season stacks up; more Rockford news and notes

By Chris Block

On Friday, the Rockford IceHogs officially released defenseman Brett Lebda from his second professional try-out contract with the club.

Lebda had been a healthy scratch in 5 of Rockford’s last 8 contests.  The Buffalo Grove native and member of the 2008 Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings had appeared in 27 games for the IceHogs, posting 11 assists to go with a minus-12 plus/minus rating, worst on the team.

The IceHogs would have had to sign Lebda to a standard-player contract by February 17th or release him.

Lebda has never before played overseas but back in October he told us he had interest from a few teams in Europe and he would reconsider those if nothing presented itself after the NHL lockout ended.

MCARDLE SIGNS CONTRACT

Just three games into his PTO, Kenndal McArdle agreed to a contract with the Rockford IceHogs for the remainder of this season on Wednesday.

The Florida Panthers’ 2005 first round (#20th overall) draft pick has one assist in the three games since joining the IceHogs.  He was also involved in the brawl with Grand Rapids last Saturday, getting ejected for a Third Man In violation.

McArdle played 9 games in the NHL last season with Winnipeg.  So far he’s taking the spot on Martin St. Pierre’s left wing that was vacated by Brandon Saad. Read more »

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IceHogs weekly wrap: Hutton leads ‘Hogs back to .500, sets franchise mark; Kyle Beach’s return date and much more

By Chris Block

Behind another stellar week of goaltending from Carter Hutton, the Rockford IceHogs picked up five of a possible six points last week to improve their record to 26-26-2-5.

This marks the first time the IceHogs have sat at the .500 mark since way back on October 28th when the team was 4-4-0-0 after a win at Peoria, the same night Kyle Beach went down with a dislocated right shoulder.

The week began on Wednesday night as a flu bug hit the Rockford dressing room.  The IceHogs, weakened also by the Andrew Shaw and Brandon Bollig call ups to Chicago earlier in the week, and without Jeremy Morin, put forth an amazing effort against the visiting Abbotsford Heat, one of the AHL’s best road teams.

Ben Smith was credited with his team-leading 8th power play goal to get the ‘Hogs on the board first.  The goal was originally given to Ben Youds but the official scoring was flipped the next day.  That goal also ended a 0 for 30 slump for the IceHogs power play units.  And they needed just 3 seconds on their first power play of the night to end that nightmarish streak.  The newest IceHog, Matt Fornataro knocked in his second goal in his fourth game since joining the team.  The game went to seven rounds in the shootout with Abbotsford scoring four times on Hutton while Heat goalie Danny Taylor allowed three from the IceHogs.  Rockford lost 3-2 but picked up a point.

Carter Hutton was the only reason the IceHogs were even in the game in Milwaukee after forty minutes on Friday night.  Since signing an NHL contract with the Blackhawks on Feb 24, Hutton has been incredible for Rockford.  The game was a rematch of the goalie-duel from six days earlier at the BMO between Hutton and Atte Engren.  Hutton prevailed in that game winning 2-1 in a shootout.  Engren stopped 35 shots in that game.   In Friday’s contest, Rockford was outshot 33-13 after two periods but the game was tied 1-1 heading into the third period.  In the final frame, the IceHogs got goals from Brandon Pirri (his team-leading 22nd) and Jeremy Morin (13th) to take the game 3-1.  Rockford is now  5-1-0-1 against Milwaukee this season and have five game left with the Admirals beginning with a  home-and-home this coming Saturday and Sunday. Read more »

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Barons bang ends IceHogs’ streak; Blackhawks pick Gilbert to join Hogs

Rockford can go without seeing the Oklahoma City Barons for another seven months.

The bubble burst on Rockford’s five-game winning streak and overall recent upswing in the form of a 7-0 pummeling Friday night in Oklahoma City.

Hannu Toivonen made his fifth start in six games but was pulled in favor of Alec Richards during the first intermission.  Toivonen allowed three goals on nine shots.  Richards didn’t fair much better, letting another three by himself in the second period.  Richards stopped 14 of 18 Barons overall in finishing the game.

Toivonen has been pulled from 8 of his 41 starts this season.  Four of those have come against the Barons.

Friday, Oklahoma City scored all seven of their goals at even strength.  The Barons did go 0 for 2 on the power play but one of those lasted just 26 seconds and by the time they got their second chance the score was already 6-0.

The IceHogs finish the season series with OKC at a record of 1-4-1-0.  They were dominated 29-16 (-13) in the scoring column and their lone win came back on Jan 2 in Oklahoma City when the IceHogs needed six goals to defeat the Barons 6-5. Read more »

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Injured IceHogs advance season-long win streak; Jimmy Hayes debuts

Hours after the Chicago Blackhawks and NHL office made his first professional hockey contract official, Jimmy Hayes got his first experience in the pro ranks for the Rockford IceHogs.

Under the guise of an amateur-try out contract, Hayes made his debut in Cleveland on Wednesday night as the IceHogs took on the Lake Erie Monsters.  Hayes’ entry-level pro contract with the Hawks kicks in on July 1st.

Hayes acquitted himself quite well in his unofficial pro debut.  He exhibited nice hands, decent wheels and didn’t seem too out of place all things considered.  The adjustment from college to the pro-pace wasn’t too much of a factor, at least in Lake Erie.  Oklahoma City on Friday poses a different challenge.

On his first shift, skating with Mathis Olimb and Ben Smith on the Hogs’ second-line Hayes showed good strides in transition leading a Hogs’ odd-man rush up the right side boards.  Hayes strung a slick pass just an inch or two further than Olimb could handle though, coming down just left of the slot and they didn’t get a scoring chance there.

In the middle period, Hayes again led a rush, but it also amounted to nothing.  Hayes was carrying the lead with Olimb and Andy Bohmbach on a 3-on-2, but Hayes lost the handle as he strode through the right circle.  He finished the game with three shots.  He’s not shy on the body but it appears he prefers to use his stick and he’ll have to shake that too much finesse with his head down college habit.  So its great for the Hawks, and IceHogs, Hayes is able to join up for some valuable minutes before an all-important off season.

Before the game Bill Peters noted he plans to dress Hayes in all seven (Wednesday included) of the IceHogs remaining games.  Peters was down six regulars (add another if you count Jeremy Morin) on Wednesday, so Hayes saw as much or more ice time as he figures to get in any single outing over the final two weeks of the season. Read more »

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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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Thursday’s notebook

–Our next radio show will be Tuesday night, March 15th @ 8pm central.  You can listen live here or at your convenience later in archive form on ITunes, here or at that same link.

Ben Smith is now riding a four-game goal streak, posting five goals in that span.  Rockford beat Hamilton 2-1 in a shootout on Wednesday night.  Brandon Pirri sealed the win in the shootout after Jeff Taffe and Smith also converted in the breakaway skills session.

Rockford will close out their 7-game road trip Friday night in Milwaukee.  They return home on Sunday afternoon to face the Chicago Wolves.  Its the Wolves final visit to MetroCentre this season.

The IceHogs have won five of their last eight games (4-3 on the road).  They’d gone three months without going to a shootout before having them in back-to-back games this week and splitting the outcomes.  Hannu Toivonen has a .948 save percentage over his last six appearances.

–I’ll be doing a Rockford Q&A in post-form here on the site this Monday.  For whatever reason I’ve been receiving a lot more IceHogs’ and prospect related emails than usual of late.  Typically I get those when the Hawks aren’t doing well or the IceHogs or individual prospects catch fire.  Anyway, I’ve responded to just about every one already person-to-person, but since so many were particularly thoughtful queries, I figured we’d put it up for everyone to read.  I’ve seen more IceHogs’ hockey this season than is probably good for my health, so I can help you with just about anything crossing your mind concerning that team.  So, if there’s any IceHogs’ topics or questions you would like discussed, email those to me by Sunday morning and I’ll include any that aren’t already covered. Read more »

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Hogs-Marlies on Clear Day..day

Rockford is back in action this week with four games.  The first, last night in Toronto, was an entertaining 3-2 shootout loss to the Marlies.

The IceHogs are wrapping up a seven-game road swing on Friday night in Milwaukee.  Before then, they’ll meet the Bulldogs in Hamilton tonight.

Ben Smith scored both goals in last night’s loss.  He now has goals in three consecutive games and five in his last six.   Obviously Smith is getting his legs back now after missing a month with a concussion.  With Ryan Potulny being traded to Ottawa, Smith has also now been moved up to the top line with Jeff Taffe, which also makes a big difference.  Smith had played what was probably his best game as a pro the night he suffered a concussion on January 8th against Grand Rapids.

Hannu Toivonen has been very good in his last five appearances (2.27 gaa, .940 save %) going 2-0-1-1.  He’s been, however, nasty bad in the shootout; allowing 14 out of 30 chances by in the skills competition.  On Tuesday, Toronto converted on three of their four shootout turns before wrapping up the extra point.

Brandon Pirri returned to the lineup on Tuesday after missing five games with an undisclosed injury.   We believe that was of the upper-body variety, but no one has confirmed as much to us.  Same goes for Ivan Vishnevskiy, who has now missed twelve consecutive games.

Vishnevskiy was originally expected to return to the lineup this week, but his return is currently uncertain.

Jeremy Morin is still out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.  As we’ve covered here before, no one is saying what his injury is officially, but its been rumored and written in other places as a concussion.

–Tuesday was “Clear Day” for American Hockey League teams.  Each year at this time, all AHL clubs must submit a “clear day” roster.  The significance of this is that only players listed on this roster can play for their respective clubs from now until the end of the regular season, continuing through playoffs. Read more »

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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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PK, Toivonen bigger than Texas, IceHogs 3 – Stars 1

The Rockford IceHogs continue to do the cha-cha with the .500 mark in their pursuit of an AHL postseason berth.

Rockford finds themselves a game above the .500 mark for the 4th time in the last 16 days after a 3-1 victory over the visiting Texas Stars on Friday night.

Goals from Kyle Beach, Jeremy Morin and a late empty-netter by Ryan Potulny were enough to lead the IceHogs to victory against the Dallas Stars minor league affiliate.

38 games into the season (AHL season runs 80 games), Rockford is 17-16-1-4 and entrenched in last place (8th) in the AHL’s West Division.

Not all is lost, however.  The IceHogs own games in hand on every team in their division and being that the West division will likely send five teams to the playoffs, Rockford need only climb over three teams to reach that coveted fifth spot.

Friday’s game against the Stars was absolutely essential for the IceHogs.  Texas came into the game as the fourth-place team in the West and held an 11-point advantage on Rockford in the standings.  But with only two games in hand on Texas, Rockford could basically cross Texas off the list of teams they could realistically leap-frog had they not won Friday’s contest in regulation. Read more »

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