Dec 212017
 

By Chris Block

In the past couple of days, I had a chance to watch Rockford’s most recent three games played Tuesday, Friday and Sunday of last week.

With a slight exception of Friday’s 2-1 shootout loss in San Antonio, the week was as ugly as it looks on paper for Rockford.  After starting December with four consecutive wins, the IceHogs’ offense chilled.

The IceHogs mustered just one goal in each of the three contests, losing all three outings (0-2-0-1).  Rockford’s power play went 0 for 13 and is now statistically the worst (11.8%) in the AHL, and showing no signs of improving.

One positive was the play of Jeff Glass, who got all three starts with J-F Berube getting sidelined by a left leg injury during Rockford’s 7-2 win over Grand Rapids on December 9th.  Berube is not expected back until the second week of January. In the meantime, Collin Delia will serve as the second goalie.

Glass stopped 101 of the 107 shots he faced last week for a 94.4% save percentage and a 1.96 GAA for those three starts.  On the season, Glass is 8-4-1-1 with a .915 save percentage and 2.70 GAA. In his previous four appearances, Rockford had averaged 4.5 goals for Glass and overall on the year they’ve supported him to the tune of 2.9 goals per appearance.

Tuesday December 12 vs Chicago Wolves – IceHogs lose 2-1 on late goal

The week began with a 2-1 loss in Rockford to the suddenly resurgent Chicago Wolves. The IceHogs rival spent much of the first nine weeks of the season mired in last place in the Central Division. All of a sudden the Wolves are back to the .500 mark with a six-game winning streak heading into this Friday night’s rematch with the IceHogs in Rockford.

The Wolves knocked off Rockford with 2 seconds left in regulation last Tuesday.  Tomas Jurco was a late scratch in this one after skating in the warmup. Matheson Iacopelli, the most healthy-scratched ‘Hogs forward this season, took Jurco’s spot in the lineup. Continue reading »

Share
Nov 192017
 

By Chris Block

Rockford IceHogs capped a weekend home set on Sunday night with a second-consecutive shootout victory, this time over the Chicago Wolves.

The season’s first meeting between Interstate 90 rivals delivered the back-and-forth action and volatility their games typically inspire.

Chicago’s season has been off to an inauspicious beginning (4-9-1-0) despite a roster full of talent that would suggest better results. The Wolves are now the affiliate of the NHL expansion Vegas Golden Knights, while also carrying a handful of the St. Louis Blues top prospects.  Next season, the Blues will be with AHL San Antonio exclusively. But for now, frequent roster juggling, particularly on the Vegas’ end, has made it difficult for the Wolves’ squad to build much chemistry.

On Sunday, Rockford saw a late 2-goal lead slip away as the Wolves fought back to a tie on tally’s by defenseman Jake Walman and captain Paul Thompson – the latter a short-handed goal off a Laurent Dauphin giveaway.

Vince Hinostroza was once again the hero for the home team.  Hinostroza dangled his way to a highlight reel goal midway through the first and had one of two of the IceHogs goals in the shootout.

Jeff Glass, on his 32nd birthday, was between the pipes for Rockford and stopped 34 shots and another 2 Wolves’ shooters in the skills competition en route to his 5th consecutive win.  Glass got both starts on the weekend with J-F Berube having lost his last 5 starts after beginning the season 5-0. Continue reading »

Share
Nov 082017
 


By Chris Block

A healthy influx of fresh prospects and NHL experienced forwards have helped drive the Rockford IceHogs to their best start since the 2014-15 campaign.

Rockford rolled off 6 wins in its initial 7 contests, with the only loss coming to rival Milwaukee.

Since, the IceHogs have faltered a bit, losing 3 of their last four and mustering just 9 goals in those four outings. Three of Rockford’s defeats overall have come against Milwaukee, with the other a 3-2 Halloween loss at Cleveland, a night the IceHogs power play let them down (0 for 7).

In all, it’s just the 4th time in 11 seasons that Rockford has posted 7 wins in its initial 10 games.  Only once in those three other seasons did the IceHogs go on to fail to qualify for the postseason. That year, 2013, Rockford followed up a 7-2-1-0 start by losing 8 of its next 10.  They eventually missed the playoffs by 4 points. The 2008-09 and 2014-15 teams did go on to the playoffs.

This year’s group has been steered by a combination of speed, solid blue line and goaltending play.

Rockford’s high-pace attack has caused opponents all some fits in the early going, but it’s come with some growing pains as some opponents have been able to take advantage of Rockford’s over-aggressive forecheck at times in transition.

IceHogs first-year coach Jeremy Colliton admits it’s still a work in progress. Continue reading »

Share