IceHogs Thursday: The Slump Continues

Photo Credit: Kim Wrona

The IceHogs ended week six with another home-and-home series with the Peoria Rivermen on Friday and Saturday. It was an opportunity for them to snag some crucial points as they rode their momentum from their weekday win against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Next, the Hogs faced a challenge to start off week seven as the 10-4-0-1 Oklahoma City Barons rolled into the BMO for a Wednesday night matchup.

Friday, November 11 at Peoria – Alec Richards got the start in net for the Hogs’ fourth game against the Rivermen this season. T.J. Hensick scored his fifth goal of the season at the 9:31 mark to give Peoria the 1-0 lead. Less than two minutes later, Cade Fairchild gave Peoria a two goal lead. Rockford quickly got on the board in the second period to cut the lead to one. 48 seconds in, Jeremy Morin was behind the net and banked a shot off of Rivs goalie Jake Allen’s back. It was Morin’s third goal of the season, and first since October 16th. Despite the early momentum, Peoria extended their lead to 4-1 with tallies from Phil McRae and Danny Syvret at 6:41 and 7:52 respectively. Richards was pulled after Syvret’s goal and Alexander Salak came in for him. The goalie change helped to light a fire under the Hogs and they scored five unanswered goals. A little less than three minutes after the change, Brett McLean scored his fifth goal of the season. In the first ten minutes of the third, Ben Smith struck twice to tie the game up. His first goal at 2:40 came on the power play. From the right circle, he tipped in Shawn Lalonde’s shot. His second goal was a wicked shot from the right circle that came at 9:29. Brandon Pirri gave Rockford the 5-4 lead right off of a draw in the right circle of Peoria’s zone 45 seconds later. His bullet of a shot beat Allen low blocker side. Morin made it 6-4 with a nice one timer from the left circle on the power play after a McLean setup. The Hogs shot themselves in the foot with late period penalty trouble. McRae struck twice on the power play in 44 seconds to tie the game up at 6. His goals were both absolute bombs from the high slot and then the right circle, at 18:48 and 19:32, to give him his second hat trick of the season. Peoria won the game 3:31 into overtime on a controversial goal from Adam Cracknell. Jay Barriball drove hard to the net and ran into Salak. Salak was defenseless and Cracknell came into the slot and put the loose puck home. It should have been goaltender interference as Salak was prevented from doing his job, but the goal stood and Salak was livid. He marched straight over to the ref and yelled at him. He also threw his stick at him – it hit the glass and not the ref – and then was yelling at the linesman as well. IceHogs head coach Ted Dent was also yelling at the officials after his team had left the bench. Salak and Dent both received game misconducts.

-Rockford outshot Peoria 42-40.

-The IceHogs’ power play went 2-6 and the Rivermen’s power play went 3-8.

-Andrew Shaw led the team with five shots on goal.

-Brian Connelly was +3. On the flip side, Ryan Stanton was -3.

-The scratches were Kyle Beach (shoulder), Chris DiDomenico, and Peter LeBlanc (healthy).

-The lines and D pairs were:

Morin – McLean – Brandon Segal

Shaw – Pirri – Smith

Philippe Paradis – Byron Froese – Jimmy Hayes

Brandon Bollig – _______ – Rob Klinkhammer

Connelly – Brian Fahey

Stanton – Lalonde

Joe Lavin – Dylan Olsen

Ben Youds  –

They dressed seven defensemen and just had a different center centering the fourth line every time they were out there.

Saturday, November 12 vs Peoria – The Hogs needed to come out and establish themselves early against the Rivs the night after their heartbreaking loss. Saturday started much like Friday did with Hensick getting on the board early to give Peoria the lead. Peoria wouldn’t look back after that. In the second, Brett Sonne tallied his third goal of the year at 14:00 to make it a 2-0 lead and then Brett Sterling made it 3-0 at 12:32 of the third period on a power play. Rivs goalie Ben Bishop was strong in net all night long and  held on for the shutout.

-Salak started in net for the IceHogs.

-The scratches, lines, and D pairs were the same as Friday.

-Segal registered a team high six shots on goal.

-Rockford outshot Peoria 37-28.

-Peoria went 1-5 on the power play. Rockford went 0-6.

-Saturday was Heritage Night at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Before the Rivs-Hogs game, the Blackhawks alumni faced off against the IceHogs alumni. The IceHogs squeaked out on top with a shootout victory.

-For the main event, the Hogs wore special Heritage Night jerseys. Both the current Hogs and former Hogs’ jerseys were auctioned off in a blind auction for fans.

Wednesday, November 16 vs Oklahoma City – The scary good Barons came into the BMO Wednesday night looking for their 11th win of the season. The Hogs wouldn’t let that fact stop them from jumping out to a 1-0 lead 8:06 into the game. LeBlanc, who was playing in his first game since November 6th after being a healthy scratch, tallied his first goal of the season on the power play. From the left circle, Morin found him open just above the right circle and sent a crisp pass over for LeBlanc to let a nice wrister go. Teemu Hartikainen tied the game up for Oklahoma City while the Barons enjoyed 1:28 of 5-on-3 power play time. Hartikainen registered his second of the night just 2:33 into the second period. The Barons scored two more in the period to make it 4-1. Gilbert Brule and Philippe Cornet were the goal scorers. Cornet’s goal was off of a rebound after a nice initial save by Salak, who had come across the crease with his right pad. The Hogs needed a big third period and they got it. They came out flying, playing a very physical, very fast paced game. Segal got the comeback started at 3:12 with a backhanded shot from the slot that slipped past Barons goalie Yann Danis for his seventh of the year. LeBlanc closed the gap to within one 1:14 later to make it 4-3. From below the left circle, Stanton found LeBlanc in the right circle and sent a beautiful pass over to him. All LeBlanc had to do was hit the net with his one-timer, which he easily did. Pirri tied the game up at 4 at 11:47 with a backhanded attempt through a bunch of traffic on Danis’ left. Unfortunately, all the momentum was sucked out of the building when Ryan Keller’s shot from the left circle got past Richards, who had started the third period in relief of Salak, to give the Barons the 5-4 lead. The Hogs still pushed hard to get the equalizer, despite being shorthanded at the 16:01 mark. McLean was pulled down on a shorthanded breakaway at 16:19 and was rewarded a  penalty shot. This was a golden opportunity for Rockford to really get back in the game, but McLean’s shot missed the net, high and wide. Oklahoma held on to better their record to 11-4-0-1, which leads the Western Conference.

-Rockford outshot OKC 37-26.

-The Hogs went 1-5 on the power play and the Barons went 2-5.

-McLean registered six shots on goal.

-The scratches were Beach (shoulder), Smith (in the process of being recalled), and Youds (healthy).

-The lines and D pairs were:

Morin – McLean – Segal

Shaw – Pirri – LeBlanc

Paradis – David Gilbert – Hayes

Bollig – Froese – Klinkhammer

Connelly – Fahey

Stanton – Lalonde

 Lavin – Olsen

-The Hogs now sit at a record of 5-8-1-0 with 11 points. They haven’t won at home since opening night.

Roster Notes

Monday, November 14 – Gilbert was reassigned by the Blackhawks to Rockford from Toledo and DiDomenico was reassigned to the Walleye.

Thursday, November 17 – Rostislav Olesz cleared waivers and was assigned to the IceHogs from Chicago. Smith was recalled to the Blackhawks.

Tidbits

-On November 11th, the IceHogs announced that their new flagship radio station will change to 100.5 NTA FM. The first game broadcasted on there was that night.

Upcoming Games

Friday, November 18 at Charlotte at 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 20 at Charlotte at 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 23rd vs San Antonio at 7:05 p.m.

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