Hockey is underway and it’s time to discuss the Rockford IceHogs “3 Top Hogs” in the first game of the 16th season. The IceHogs dropped their season opener at home against the Milwaukee Admirals 3-2. No surprise, really. This makes six straight games since March of this year the IceHogs have not been able to defeat their divisional rivals. It’s too early to count losses. After all, they’re still sending talent our way. The Chicago Blackhawks have now assigned forward Brandon Mashinter to Rockford after activating him from Injured Reserve. Mashinter comes to the River City as Rockford’s Heavy Hitter last season accumulating 14g-14a for the IceHogs. With any luck we will get defenseman Kyle Cumiskey if he’s not snapped off the waiver list after being released earlier today.
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Top Hog #1 no doubt goes to forward Ryan Hartman. In his 10 pro games he clipped 5g-4a for 9 points. Scoring the only two goals Opening Night makes Hartman the first since 2008-09 in IceHogs history when Petri Kontiola scored against the Quad City Flames.
With the talk of eliminating fighting from hockey, good luck with that, Top Hog #2 vote goes to Joakim Nordstrom. Nothing says team playing like retaliating for a wronged player. In this case Nordstrom showed exactly what he thought of the hit Milwaukee’s Triston Grant delivered to defenseman T.J. Brennan. Eliminating fighting, in my opinion, will increase unnecessary, illegal, dangerous boarding. A physical game requires the release of building tensions. Let the gloves drop and put them in the box to cool down rather than to take frustrations out while skating. More players are seriously hurt by cross checking and tripping than a dance around the ice.
Top Hog #3 is forward Garret Ross and the one that got away. With under a minute remaining, it was Ross’ shot that gave the Admiral’s goalie Marek Mazanec his best save of the game. The game loss comes with a greater advantage in zone time and a 31-23 count for shots on goal in favor of the IceHogs.
The IceHogs pack up for a four game tour away from the BMO Harris Center beginning tonight when they take on the Adirondack Flames at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Next game on home ice will be October 25th when they host the Chicago Wolves. Puck drops at 7:00 p.m.
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