The Rockford IceHogs may not have had the most action-packed week in the AHL, but it was enough to keep them on top of the AHL’s Western Conference with a 7-3-1 record. This is the Rockford Report.
Saturday, October 26 vs. Charlotte Checkers
If there ever was an uneventful game thus far in the IceHogs’ young season, this was it. However, the two points that came at the end were just as valuable as the most exciting games played. Over half the game was played before the first goal was scored, a Mark Flood tally that put the visiting Checkers up 1-0. It would stay that way until mid-way through the 3rd period, when Jimmy Hayes notched his third of the season to knot the score. No one else would find the back of the net in the period, and the 3,124 fans at the BMO Harris Bank Center got more than what they paid for; the game went to overtime, and then a shootout. Charlotte led the five-round affair 1-0 after the third round, before Viktor Svedberg and Garret Ross both scored to seal the victory, 2-1. Antti Raanta made 29 saves, and an additional 4 in the shootout, for the win. His efforts earned him the First Star honors, while Hayes picked up the Third Star.
Saturday, October 27 vs. Texas Stars
The ‘Hogs were back at it the very next day, with a Sunday afternoon game against the Stars. Texas got off to a brilliant start, picking up two goals in the first 5 minutes, before Rockford took over. Drew Leblanc inched Rockford closer with the lone goal of the second period, before three more unanswered goals from Alex Broadhurst, Mark McNeil, and Klas Dahlbeck gave the Piggies the lead, and later, the win. Raanta had an out-standing 48-save effort, the most of his young AHL career, and unanimously earned the First Star again. McNeil and Broadhurst rounded out the three-star selections, a sweep for the home team.
Thursday, October 31 vs. Charlotte Checkers
The Checkers were back for revenge on Halloween night in Rockford, and the IceHogs looked to keep their five-game winning streak and 6-game points streak alive. The Checkers had other ideas: jumping out to a 3-0 lead by the middle of the 2nd period. Rockford bounced back with three goals from Ross, McNeil, and Hayes, tying the score with 15 minutes left in the third period. The Checkers’ offense was just too strong on this night however, as they added two more to secure a 5-3 win. The undisciplined affair had a total of 47 minutes in penalties. Jimmy Hayes was the lone IceHog on the score-sheet with 1 goal and 7 shots.
News & Notes
Mark McNeil’s goal on Thursday against the Checkers tied the rookie for the team lead with 6.
Adam Clendening continues to lead the IceHogs in points, racking up 11 as a defenseman.
Antti Raanta had his personal 5-game winning streak snapped on Thursday, but is still 5-2 with a .920 SV%.
The IceHogs are in Milwaukee Friday to face the Admirals for the first time this season, before wrapping up the week with a home-and-home against the Grand Rapids Griffins.
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