The Rockford IceHogs have picked up speed, and their 5-2-1 record puts them at the top of the AHL’s Western Conference. A busy 4-games were played over the last seven days, with the ‘Hogs taking 7 out of a possible 8 points. Here is the Rockford Report.
Friday, Oct. 18th @ Chicago Wolves
The IceHogs wrapped up a 5-game road trip on Friday, when they made the first visit of the season to Chicago and the bitter rival Wolves. It started well for the Piggies, with Terry Broadhurst scoring his first goal of the season just 47 seconds into the contest. Goals by Jeremy Morin and Jimmy Hayes soon followed, and the IceHogs skated away from the first period with a 3-0 lead. A penalty-filled second period began, and Chicago pushed back, with two goals less than two minutes apart. Rockford held the lead going into the third period, but the Wolves tied it up with an Eric Oberg goal. With a minute and a half left in the game, Klas Dahlbeck scored the game-winner, his second goal of the season. Mark McNeil added the empty-netter, and Rockford won, 5-3. Kent Simpson made 19 saves for the win, and Jimmy Hayes and Jeremy Morin picked up First and Third Star nods, respectively.
Saturday, Oct. 19th vs. Grand Rapids Griffins
The BMO Harris Bank Center was alive for the long-awaited IceHogs home opener, after renovations caused the team to start the season on the road. The Griffins opened the scoring with two goals, and the first period would end that way. The `Hogs tied the score in the second with goals from Jimmy Hayes and Jeremy Morin, but the Griffins got another one before the frame was out. Grand Rapids added another at the start of the third for a 4-2 lead, but Brad Winchester and Philip Danault with less than 3 minutes to go sent the game into extra time. Recently signed Viktor Svedberg delivered the game-winner in the shootout, and Rockford secured a 5-4 comeback victory. Antti Raanta had an outstanding 35-save effort, and Jeremy Morin picked up the first star with 2 points and six shots.
Tuesday, Oct. 22nd @ Hamilton Bulldogs
Rockford headed north of the border as the work week got underway, to try to take a rare win away from Hamilton. The `Hogs and Dogs traded goals until the third period, where two Mark McNeil goals put Chicago on top. The Piggies proceeded to give up two Hamilton goals, including an Akim Aliu marker that tied the game with only 19 seconds left. Hamilton sealed the deal in overtime, where Louis Leblanc put one past Kent Simpson for the win. Simpson’s 31-save game wasn’t enough, as the ‘Hogs found themselves on the other side of a comeback, but taking a single point out of Hamilton. Mark McNeil took home Second Star honors, and Terry Broadhurst picked up his second consecutive Third Star nod.
Wednesday, Oct. 23rd @ Toronto Marlies
The ‘Hogs went into the Ricoh Colosseum on a roll, trying to finish the week strong against a formidable Marlies squad. The Marlies opened the scoring with the lone goal in the first period, and Leafs hopeful Carter Ashton added another for a 2-0 lead midway through the game. Brothers Alex Broadhurst and Terry Broadhurst took exception, scoring goals just 2:58 apart to tie the score. That set the stage for Jeremy Morin to net his fourth goal of the year, a game-winner. Antti Raanta and the ‘Hogs defense held off a heavy attack late, and the IceHogs finished the week with 3 out of 4 wins. Raanta had a 22-save showing, and Jeremy Morin earned himself his second First Star nomination of the week, and Garret Ross picked up the Second Star nod, with two assists.
The ‘Hogs gained three players over the last seven days, including Chicago Blackhawks’ forward Joakim Nordstrom, first-round pick Kyle Beach, and recent signing Viktor Svedberg.
Nordstrom was a surprise story in the Windy City, when he made the club after training camp, over highly touted prospects Jeremy Morin and Brandon Pirri. Pirri was called up to the Blackhawks on the 11th of October, and after scoring two goals in his first three games, Nordstrom was sent down.
Kyle Beach was released from Swedish club HV71, after being loaned there just over a month earlier. An HV71 spokesperson said that beach “doesn’t fit in the team’s plans for the future”, upon the news. The team is off to a terrible start, and have recently signed another familiar face in the Blackhawks organization: former defenseman Chris Campoli.
Viktor Svedberg, 6’9″ defenseman, was signed to a two-year contract after being picked up as a free agent in the summer. Svedberg was released from SPC of the DEL, and loaned from the Blackhawks after the signing . He has 1 goal and 1 assist in 8 games so far this season.
The IceHogs take on the Charlotte Checkers and Texas Stars this weekend in a pair of afternoon games, and play the Checkers once again on the 31st before heading to Milwaukee to face the Admirals on Friday.
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