The Rockford IceHogs won three games in Week 10, even after a shakeup with the Chicago Blackhawks caused some lineup changes down on the farm.
Garret Ross of the IceHogs battling with a Checkers forward. Picture courtesy: blackhawks.nhl.com
Saturday, December 6th @ Charlotte Checkers
The ‘Hogs were in North Carolina to finish a double-header against the Checkers that went to overtime the first time around. Rockford and Charlotte would trade a goal each after 1 period, but the Piggies would explode in the middle frame, with three straight goals by Brad Winchester, Joakim Nordstrom, and Garret Ross‘ 2nd of the game. Charlotte scored with one second left in the period to cut Rockford’s lead to two goals. Klas Dahlbeck would score the short-handed empty-net goal to ice it with 15 seconds remaining, but Charlotte scored one more time, with just 9 seconds left in the game, to inch themselves closer. Rockford closed out the game, with a 5-3 win. Kent Simpson made 30 saves in the winning effort, as Nordstrom and Ross took Second and First Star honors. There was a total of 58 penalty minutes handed out in the game.
Friday, December 13 vs. Oklahoma City Barons
The IceHogs and Barons squared off for the first time this season, in the first game of a two-night series. The action-filled first period started with Brandon Pirri and Brad Winchester goals, before OKC scored once to cut the lead in half. Rockford restored the two-goal difference with a Garret Ross marker, but the Barons scored twice, including a goal early in the second period, to tie the game. Brad Winchester scored his second goal of the night halfway through the game, which turned out to be the difference-maker, as Mac Carruth made 27 saves for the win. Winchester took the game’s First Star, and Ross followed up with the Third Star.
Saturday, December 14 vs. Oklahoma City Barons
Rockford and OKC took to the ice once again the night after, to finish up the double-header. This time, it was the Barons getting on top early, but Philip Lefebvre scored just 3 minutes later to tie it. Joakim Nordstrom gave Rockford the lead, but the visitors would rally to score one late in the first period, ending the frame at 2 goals apiece. Mark McNeill and Terry Broadhurst each scored, but both would be answered, and the game headed to a shootout. Nordstrom, Pirri, and Broadhurst all scored, and Carruth blanked the Barons, as Rockford took the extra point, winning 5-4. Carruth made 20 saves for his second straight win, and the IceHogs scored three of their four regulation goals on the power-play.
Sunday, December 15 @ Iowa Wild
The IceHogs headed to Iowa for the final game of the week, facing a tough Wild squad for the third time this season. The Wild would score 27 seconds into the game, which turned out to be the only goal of the first period. Carson McMillan scored the game-winner for Iowa early in the second, and despite a valiant effort by Rockford, including a Klas Dahlbeck goal, the Wild would ice it with another goal late in the third period. Allen York, playing in his first professional hockey game, made a great 35-save performance despite the loss.
The IceHogs saw D Mike Kostka leave the team after a conditioning stint that was a part of his rehab, as well as goaltender Kent Simpson, when Blackhawks’ goalie Corey Crawford went down with an injury.
Rockford fixed their goaltending situation by signing G Allen York to a Pro Tryout Offer, and later in the week, picked up G Jason LaBarbera, as he was loaned by the Blackhawks after they made a trade for him.
The IceHogs only play twice in Week 11, with a meeting in Grand Rapids on Friday, before returning home to face the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday, in their last game before the Christmas break.
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