The IceHogs came into week four’s weekend on a low note after losing their last three games. Their home-and-home series against the Peoria Rivermen gave them an opportunity to snag four points against a division rival and get back on the winning track.
Friday, October 28 at Peoria – The Rivermen opened up the scoring on Friday night in their second game in as many nights. Tyler Shattock scored at the 3:24 mark; Former IceHog Kyle Hagel got the primary assist on the tally. Just under two minutes later, the Hogs tied it up. From the right circle, Ben Smith set up Brian Connelly in the left circle and Connelly one-timed it home for his first goal of the year. Rockford took the lead about five minutes later on Ben Youds’ first career pro goal. Jimmy Hayes beautifully set him up and all Youds had to do was hit the net with his shot. Youds also played a part in the Hogs’ next goal. He drew a hooking penalty that sent Brett Sterling to the box at the 14:37 mark. On that power play, Smith was providing traffic in front of Rivs goalie Jake Allen. Allen gave up a rebound on a Connelly shot and Smith was able to shovel it into the back of the net for his second of the season to give the Hogs a 3-1 lead. The Hogs made it a three goal lead 1:35 into the second period. Brett McLean’s weak shot from the right circle somehow got past Allen, five-hole. Allen should have made the save, but nonetheless, it was McLean’s first goal in a Hogs sweater. The wheels momentarily fell off for Rockford in the middle of the period. Sterling scored for the Rivs at 10:45 to cut the lead to 4-2. Then Jeremy Morin took a needless slashing penalty at 11:35 as Peoria began to carry the majority of the momentum. Four seconds into the Peoria power play, Derek Nesbitt made it a one goal game. McLean tallied his second of the night on a five-on-three power play to give the Hogs a bit of breathing room for the moment at 16:23; Anthony Nigro and Ian Cole were in the box for Peoria. At 4:28 of the third period, Kyle Beach and Stefan Della Rovere were sent to the box on matching minors for slashing and unsporstmanlike conduct, respectively. As soon as they got out of the box, they decided to drop the gloves. The fight wasn’t good for either player, especially Beach. He left the ice and went directly into the dressing room in a ton of pain. After the game, it was reported that he dislocated his right shoulder. Della Rovere also suffered an upper body injury. At the time, the Hogs were already down a forward. Morin hadn’t played since around the time he took and served his slashing penalty in the second period. He didn’t appear to be on bench at all in the third, but there was no word on what happened to him or if he was just benched. Peoria once again closed their deficit to one at 10:35. Brett Sonne was the goal scorer. 13 seconds later, Andrew Shaw scored his first career pro goal, after another nice play by Hayes, to give the Hogs a 6-4 lead and they wouldn’t look back after that.
-Rockford outshot Peoria 39-35.
-The IceHogs went 2-6 on the power play and Peoria went 1-5.
-Brandon Pirri scored his 50th pro point with his assist on McLean’s second goal.
-The scratches were Dylan Olsen (upper body injury), Simon Danis-Pepin, Byron Froese, Brandon Bollig, and Alexander Salak (healthy). Salak was at home with his wife, awaiting their first child’s birth. Brad Fogal was backing up Alec Richards; Fogal had signed a PTO.
-McLean led the way with seven shots on goal.
-Ryan Stanton was +3 on the night. He also registered an assist on Shaw’s goal.
-Lines and Defense pairings from Friday:
Philippe Paradis – McLean – Brandon Segal
Rob Klinkhammer – Pirri – Morin
Beach – Smith – Chris DiDomenico
Shaw – Peter LeBlanc – Hayes
Connelly – Brian Fahey
Stanton – Youds
Joe Lavin – Shawn Lalonde
Saturday, October 29 vs. Peoria – Rockford started off on the right foot Saturday night. 57 seconds into the game, newly named captain Segal picked up the loose puck in the left circle and fired it past Rivs goalie Ben Bishop for his fifth goal of the season. The Hogs dominated the play for the majority of the first period. It looked like Peoria was feeling the effects of playing three games in three nights. The Rivs did tie the game up at 16:06 with Nesbitt’s fourth goal of the season. It didn’t take long for Peoria to regain their legs and hop out to an early second period lead. Nigro was out in front of Richards when he tipped Brennan Evans’ shot. Richards stopped the initial tip but Nigro knocked in the rebound on his backhand. Cade Fairchild gave Peoria a two goal lead 16 seconds into a power play with Klinkhammer in the box for high-sticking Sterling. Adam Cracknell made it a 4-1 game at 15:14 of the period. McLean cut Peoria’s lead to two with 48 seconds left in the second. Connelly’s shot from the high slot went wide of the net and McLean got the bounce off the boards to put it past Bishop’s left pad. Sterling gave the Rivs their three goal lead back only 1:16 into the third period. Hogs head coach Ted Dent pulled Richards after that goal and put backup goalie Carter Hutton in for the remainder of the game. Peoria was able to hold on for the 5-2 win.
-Rockford outshot Peoria 39-36.
-Both teams’ power plays were dismal. Peoria went 1-7 and Rockford went 0-6.
-Smith had a team high six shots on goal.
-Connelly registered his 100th career pro point with his assist on McLean’s goal.
-The “ouch” stat of the night: Klinkhammer was -4.
-Beach and Olsen remained out with their injuries. Froese and Salak were the healthy scratches; Salak’s wife gave birth to their child.
-The lines were a bit different on Saturday:
Paradis – McLean – Segal
Klinkhammer – Pirri – Smith
Shaw – LeBlanc – Hayes
Bollig – DiDomenico – Morin
-The D pairs remained the same.
–Friday, October 28 – Danis-Pepin was reassigned to Toledo.
–Saturday, October 29 – Hutton was recalled from Toledo and Fogal was released from his PTO.
–Monday, October 31 – Hutton was reassigned to Toledo.
-The celebrity coaches for the IceHogs/Blackhawks alumni game were announced. (icehogs.com)
-There will be an open practice at Riverview Ice House on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. It’s free and open to the public. For more details, read the press release: icehogs.com.