By Chris Block
The Rockford IceHogs are running out of bodies and now games in their wild postseason bid.
On Friday they travelled to Cleveland, Ohio for a two-game set with the Lake Erie Monsters. Rockford entered the opener on Friday night trailing the 10th-place Monsters by two points in the Western conference with a game in hand on Lake Erie.
By any means, this weekend presented four points the IceHogs needed. And anything less than three would put Rockford’s postseason hopes in serious jeopardy.
With five games remaining and four teams to leapfrog in order to qualify for postseason, this weekend represented an opportunity to gain ground or jump past Lake Erie in the standings all together.
But after a 2-1 loss at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday night, the IceHogs at best now can leave Cleveland this weekend in the exact predicament they arrived in.
And if they don’t beat Lake Erie in regulation on Saturday, they’ll bus home having lost ground in spite of getting two of a possible four points.
Rockford’s pursuit of a playoff spot has approached storybook proportions of late behind timely goal scoring, team defense, key contributions from ECHL signings, some luck and Carter Hutton.
The IceHogs have gone 20-8-1-3 since Jan 16th when they were a season-worst 7 games below the .500 mark.
However, the IceHogs still managed to stumble in recent weeks even in earning 11 of a possible 12 points in their six games coming into Friday night’s contest.