The Rockford IceHogs had a positive week, getting back to over the .500% mark for the first time in almost two weeks. Along with the good play, the IceHogs added some new faces to their lineup with some roster moves in the week.
Saturday, November 23: Rockford IceHogs @ Charlotte Checkers
The IceHogs kicked off Week #8 with the first half of a double-header in Charlotte. Mac Carruth made his first career AHL start, after Antti Raanta was called up to Chicago earlier in the week. He got a rough welcome to the League courtesy of Justin Shugg, who scored his third goal of the season just two minutes into the game. Joakim Nordstrom answered early in the second to knot the score, and after another Checkers’ go-ahead-goal, Nordstrom tied the score once more with his second goal of the night. Charlotte would not be denied, however, and scored the next three goals, all in the third period, and all on the power-play, to take the game 5-2. Rockford’s penalty-kill was the story of the game, only killing off 2 out of 6 penalties taken by the team. Carruth made 27 saves in his pro hockey debut, and Nordstrom was +2 on the night.
Sunday, November 24: Rockford IceHogs @ Charlotte Checkers
The ‘Hogs and Charlotte didn’t have much time to cool off before they were right back at it, closing off their two-game series. Rockford opened up the scoring this time, with the first two goals coming off the sticks of Adam Clendening and Garret Ross in the first period. By the end of the second frame, Charlotte would have it all tied up however, and the two teams went into the final stanza tied at 2 for the second game in a row. This time, it would be the IceHogs that scored consecutive goals, with Philip Lefebvre earning his first since being acquired, and Klas Dahlbeck scoring shorthanded for the two-goal advantage. Dahlbeck’s goal would turn out to be the game-winner, as Charlotte drew within one late in the game. Kent Simpson earned the win with a 29-save performance, and Dahlbeck and Lefebvre earned themselves the game’s First and Second Star awards, respectively. The IceHogs and Checkers are now tied in their 8-game season series, with 2 wins apiece.
Wednesday, November 27: Milwaukee Admirals @ Rockford IceHogs
The IceHogs returned back to the BMO Harris Bank Center to close off their week, facing the Milwaukee Admirals for the second time this season. The back-and-forth affair saw no one hit the score-sheet early, as the defense took over the game. Finally, in the third period, Nordstrom scored his third goal in the past week to put the IceHogs ahead. The lead wasn’t built to last, however, as Taylor Beck scored for the Admirals to tie the game 6 minutes later. Regulation time would end 1-1, and overtime was needed. Scott Valentine took an ill-timed roughing penalty for the visitors, and on the ensuing 4-on-3 power-play, Mark McNeill scored to seal the deal. Kent Simpson made 33 saves on 34 shots for his second straight win, earning him the Second Star, while McNeill took home the First Star honors for his heroic goal.
The IceHogs made a trio of roster moves this week, all on Tuesday, November 26:
- Jeremy Morin was sent back to the IceHogs lineup after several games with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
- Blake Kessel, younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel, was released on the Pro Tryout Offer the ‘Hogs signed him to on November 13.
- 30-year old Brett Skinner was signed to a PTO, after he was released from the Norfolk Admirals. Skinner was drafted in 2002 by the Vancouver Canucks, and since then has played 11 NHL games, all with the New York Islanders in 2008-09.
The IceHogs kick off Week 9 tonight with a road game against the Chicago Wolves, and finish the home-and-home series on Saturday back in Rockford. They head to Charlotte with another match-up with the Checkers on Thursday, December 5 to finish off their week.
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