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
Posted in IceHogs, Prospects
Tagged Alec Richards, Ben Smith, Brandon Pirri, Chris DiDomenico, Evan Brophey, Hannu Toivonen, IceHogs, Igor Makarov, Injury update, Ivan Vishnevksiy, Jassen Cullimore, Jeff Taffe, Jeremy Morin, Kyle Beach, Mathis Olimb, Ryan Potulny, Shawn Lalonde, Simon Danis-Pepin, Wolves
Rockford’s Achilles heel, coupled with an anemic power play teamed up Saturday night as the IceHogs’ ultimate demise in a 3-1 loss to the traveling Manitoba Moose.
On a night when Rockford’s power play couldn’t muster more than one goal in eight tries, you could sense trouble brewing.
After forty-five minutes of scoreless hockey, Ben Smith finally struck the back of Manitoba’s net at 5:02 of the third period when Smith, parked on top of Manitoba netminder Eddie Lack’s crease, found an Igor Makarov assisted rebound to give Rockford a 1-0 lead. Smith’s tally came on Rockford’s seventh power play chance.
The MetroCentre crowd of 5,593 then sat stunned as Manitoba score three unanswered goals in 1 minute and 27 seconds.
Cody Hodgson kicked off the comeback when he drove wide-right on defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and roofed a snap shot over Hannu Toivonen‘s glove on the short side with 4:40 left in regulation. A weak goal allowed by Toivonen tied the game and took the air out of everyone in the building not wearing Moose sweaters. Hodgson’s 6th marker extended the former top NHL prospect’s scoring streak to 4 games (4g, 2a).
55 seconds after Hodgson evened the score, Jeff Tambellini (re-assigned here by the Canucks on Tuesday) found Toivonen’s five hole and increased the lead to 2-1. It was another goal Toivonen probably would like to have back. The defense pairing of Vishnevskiy and Shawn Lalonde were victimized on both goals.
Just 32 seconds later, Toivonen’s glove was again too slow on a Tambellini riser, increasing the lead to the eventual final 3-1 score. Read more