It was a short week for the Rockford IceHogs, with the AHL All-Star Classic taking place mid-way through Week 18. The ‘Hogs managed to stay perfect in two games, and one of the team’s best forwards represented well during the All-Star Game.
Mandatory Credit: Kris Grey
Saturday, February 8th vs. Iowa Wild
The ‘Hogs kicked off Week 18 with a key divisional match-up against the Wild, who have won the last four meetings between the two. The IceHogs led 2-0 after the first thanks to goals by Philip Lefebvre and Jeremy Morin, and the floodgates would open in the second. Seven goals were scored in the middle frame, four by Rockford, to end the period up 6-3. Morin completed the hat-trick with two more goals in the third, and Rockford won 8-3. Kent Simpson made 30 saves for only his second win since January 10th, while Morin, Lefebvre, and Drew Leblanc were the game’s Three Stars.
Sunday, February 9th vs. Utica Comets
The IceHogs welcomed in their next visitor less than 24 hours after their big win, as the division-worst Utica Comets came to town. Brandon Pirri put the ‘Hogs in front with the lone goal in the first period, while Alex Broadhurst finished on a nice pass from brother Terry to increase the lead to 2-0 early in the second. After a Utica goal, Jeremy Morin scored on the power-play, his fourth in two games, to regain the 2-goal lead. Three straight Comets goals saw the IceHogs down by one entering the third, but Garret Ross scored late to tie it and send it to extra time. In OT, the Broadhurst brothers hooked up again, as broher Alex put the game away, a 5-4 Rockford win. Jason LaBarbera was 29-for-33, as Alex Broadhurst earned the game’s First Star, and Pirri followed up with the Third Star honor.
Pirri was out in Newfoundland and Labrador two days later, taking part in the AHL’s All-Star Classic as the lone Rockford player selected. Pirri finished with two goals and an assist, taking home the MVP award in the game as the AHL All-Stars defeated Farjestad BK of the Swedish Elite League 7-2. The All-Stars also defeated the Swedes 18-17 in the Skills Competition on Tuesday night.
The ‘Hogs didn’t make any roster moves, for only the second week this season.
Rockford finishes a four-game home stand on Valentines Day when the bitter rival Chicago Wolves come to town, then head to Iowa for a double-header with the Wild on Saturday and Sunday.
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