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.