The Rockford IceHogs had a slower week than usual, picking up three of a possible six points, and staying put in the AHL’s playoff race, for now. The IceHogs also saw one of their most dynamic forwards depart for the final time, and welcomed a new face, and some familiar ones, back to the club.
Friday, February 28th @ Oklahoma City Barons
After a load of Division games, the IceHogs headed to face the OKC Barons for the first time since mid-December. The ‘Hogs jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals from Bobby Shea and Terry Broadhurst, but the Barons equalized with two power-play markers. Rockford led late in the third, but OKC tied once again with just under 3 minutes remaining. In overtime, it only took 46 seconds for Tyler Pitlick to seal a 5-4 win for the home crowd. Jason LaBarbera made 32 saves, while both Shea and Broadhurst led the way offensively with a pair of goals each.
Saturday, March 1st @ Oklahoma City Barons
There wasn’t any time to sulk over the loss, as both teams were back at it the next night, in their final meeting of the regular season. This time it was the Barons that held the 2-0 lead with two power-play goals, but the ‘Hogs tied it up early in the second with goals from Jeremy Morin and Adam Clendening. After two more OKC goals, Brad Mills drew Rockford within one with the final goal of the six-goal period. Brandon Pirri knotted the score half-way through the third, but Austin Fyten scored a late game-winner for the Barons’ second straight 5-4 win. Kent Simpson was pulled after allowing 3 goals on 23 shots, and LaBarbera made 9 saves in relief. Pirri was the game’s Second Star with a goal and an assist.
Tuesday, March 4th vs. Rochester Americans
The ‘Hogs looked for their first win of Week 21 against the Rochester Americans, a team that has had their number in the past. Jeremy Morin, Pat Mullane, and Terry Broadhurst put the game away before Rochester even had a chance to respond, with three unanswered goals to start the game. After the Americans drew within one, Brandon Mashinter put the game away with the empty-netter. LaBarbera made 33 saves in the win, earning First Star honors. Jeremy Morin followed up with a Third Star.
The IceHogs’ 11-game point streak came to an end with the loss on Saturday, but they are firmly cemented in playoff position, eight points above the cut-off line.
- The IceHogs said goodbye to leading goal-scorer Brandon Pirri, who was traded to the Florida Panthers in exchange for two draft picks. Pirri leaves after spending four years with the IceHogs, amassing 68 goals and 200 points (franchise record) in that time. He had 26 points in 26 games with Rockford this season.
- Rockford added Matheiu Brisebois to their roster, after the Blackhawks traded for him along with David Rundblad on Tuesday, just before the trade deadline. Brisebois had four points and 30 PIMs in 28 games with the Portland Pirates this season, who are tied for last in the entire AHL.
- Jeremy Morin‘s point streak has now stretched to 13 games. He trails Adam Clendening (46) for the lead in team scoring, with 44 points in 44 games.
- Brian Connelly‘s assist on Friday is his first point in his second stint with the IceHogs. He is already the teams’ all-time leader in points by a defenseman, with 127.
- Since being acquired from the New York Islanders, Pierre-Marc Bouchard has 1 goal and 12 points in his first 10 games as a member of the IceHogs.
Week 21 Schedule
Friday, March 7th @ Milwaukee Admirals (25-19-6-6)
Saturday, March 8th vs. Milwaukee Admirals (25-19-6-6)
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