The Rockford IceHogs picked up two more important wins down the stretch, but with the addition of some of the Chicago Blackhawks’ highest-touted prospects, the future is looking even better heading into the playoffs.
Friday, March 28th vs. Grand Rapids Griffins
The IceHogs welcomed the defending Calder Cup champions into BMO Harris Bank Center on Friday for the first of two straight games. The Griffins jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but thanks to five unanswered goals from Brad Mills, Adam Clendening (2), Mathieu Brisbois, and Brian Connelly, the ‘Hogs regained the lead in stunning fashion. The battle wasn’t over, however, as Andrej Nestrasil scored twice on the power-play to pull the Griffins within one. Rockford would hang on, however, and won the game by a score of 5-4. Jason LaBarbera stopped 23 of 27 in the win, while Clendening was named the game’s First Star.
Saturday, March 29th @ Grand Rapids Griffins
The IceHogs and Griffins played their final match-up of the regular season the following night in Michigan. After Alex Broadhurst opened the scoring in the second period, giving the IceHogs a 1-0 lead, the game was all Griffins until the horn. Grand Rapids scored four goals to win 4-1, as Rockford put up a lowly 6 shots in the third period. LaBarbera made 25 saves in his third straight start.
Sunday, March 30th vs. Chicago Wolves
The IceHogs wrapped up three games in three days with another game back home, this one against the Chicago Wolves, just a week after one of the roughest games of the season. The game got off to a blazing start, but the score was tied 3-3 with 15 minutes to go in regulation. Rockford stormed the Chicago crease with goals from Brad Mills, added with empty-netters from Brandon Mashinter, and Philip Danault in the dying minutes, and won a huge game against their rivals 6-3. Kent Simpson made 28 saves for the win, while Mills was named First Star.
The Blackhawks were very busy with injuries and signings, meaning the trickle-down effect was a good one for the ‘Hogs:
- The IceHogs added 2013 first-round draft pick Ryan Hartman to their roster, after his junior team, the Plymouth Whalers, was eliminated from playoff contention.
- Joakim Nordstrom was called up by the Blackhawks after a regular-season ending injury to Jonathan Toews.
- Joe Gleason was returned to Toledo of the ECHL, after being recalled on March 27th.
- Mac Carruth was added to the IceHogs as a third-string goaltender on April Fool’s day.
- The IceHogs inked Stephen Johns to a PTO on April 2nd, meaning he can play the rest of the season in Rockford after Notre Dame was eliminated from the NCAA national tournament.
Week 25 Schedule:
Friday, April 4th @ Abbotsford Heat
Saturday, April 5th @ Abbotsford Heat
Tuesday, April 8th @ Milwaukee Admirals
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