The IceHogs looked to finish up their five game homestand on a high note in week nine. Then it was off to Peoria to close out their first three games in three nights set of the season.
Friday, December 2 vs Lake Erie – Friday’s first period of the Hogs-Monsters matchup was pretty even for both teams. The Hogs ended up outshooting the Monsters 15-8 at the end of the period, but most of those shots Lake Erie goaltender Trevor Cann saw cleanly and easily made the saves, which was the case throughout the whole game. Within the first minute of the second period, Hogs goaltender Alexander Salak went down with a lower body injury. He was favoring his left leg as he got help leaving the ice. Alec Richards came in and then Lake Erie took the first lead of the game. Greg Mauldin’s shot from the high slot found its way in for his fifth tally of the season. Former IceHog Hugh Jessiman made it 2-0 5:53 later. He shoveled a puck home from the right side of the net for his eighth of the year. A minute later, Peter LeBlanc cut the deficit to one goal. Cann gave up a rebound after a Jeremy Morin shot and LeBlanc picked up the loose change and scored as he drove the net. At 11:09, Ryan Stoa gave the Monsters their two goal lead back. Stoa tallied his second of the night at 10:33 of the third period to make it 4-1 and they hung on from there for the victory.
-Lake Erie outshot Rockford 37-35.
-The Hogs went 0-3 on the power play and the Monsters went 1-3.
-Rob Klinkhammer was traded by the Blackhawks to Ottawa for a 7th round draft pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft a couple of hours before the game.
-Shawn Lalonde was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past two games. He dropped the gloves twice: once with Brad Malone in the first period and then with Cameron Gaunce in the second period.
-Rostislav Olesz led the team with six shots on net.
-Kyle Beach was the lone scratch.
-The lines were shaken up a bit:
Philippe Paradis – Brett McLean – Brandon Segal
Andrew Shaw – Brandon Pirri – Olesz
Morin – LeBlanc – Jimmy Hayes
Brandon Bollig – David Gilbert – _______
Dylan Olsen – Brian Connelly
Ryan Stanton – Brian Fahey
Joe Lavin – Shawn Lalonde
Ben Youds – _________
Youds was rotating in as the 7th defenseman instead of taking his shift as the 4th line right winger. For most of the game, Segal was the one taking the 4th line RW shift.
Saturday, December 3 vs Abbotsford – In order to finish with a 3-2-0-0 record on their homestand, the Hogs needed to beat the 14-8-1-0 Heat on Saturday night. Things didn’t start out great for Rockford. Krys Kolanos scored his tenth goal of the season after shoveling in a shot from the left side of the net at 12:31. It looked very similar to Jessiman’s goal from the night before, just on the opposite side. Less than two minutes later, McLean scored the equalizer for the Hogs after letting a sick wrister go from out front after a dish from Segal. The game began to get very chippy after those two goals. With four seconds left in the first, Segal and Jordan Henry dropped the gloves and had a little wrestling match. In the second period, which featured great goaltending from Hogs goalie Carter Hutton and Heat goalie Leland Irving, Bollig and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond squared off in a good bout and Shaw, 5’11”, and Chris Breen, 6’6″, also went at it. Shaw took more punches than he dished, but he held his own against the much larger Breen and got the BMO Harris Bank Center faithful all fired up. The chirping and chippiness continued in the third and both goaltenders kept up their outstanding play. The pace set in the third was very quick and physical, which made for an exciting final 20 minutes. With 4:30 left in the period, the Hogs had a golden opportunity to take the lead as Dustin Sylvester was called for tripping, giving Rockford their seventh power play of the game. They had some good chances, but came up empty. The backbreaking blow for the Hogs came with 1:20 to go. Ben Walter tallied his sixth goal of the year to give Abbotsford the 2-1 lead. The Heat held on and the Hogs dropped their third game in a row.
-Rockford outshot Abbotsford 29-24.
-The Hogs went 0-7 on the power play and Abbotsford went 1-5.
-It was teddy bear toss night and the Hogs fans tossed 1,221 stuff animals onto the ice after McLean’s first period goal. There will be a lot of happy kids in Rockford this holiday season due to all of those.
-Gilbert was shaken up a bit in the third period after a hit along the end boards of Abbotsford’s zone. He missed a couple of shifts to what looked like a possible leg injury, but he came back and played the rest of the third.
-Salak is listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury and was a scratch, along with Beach (shoulder) and Youds (healthy).
-The only difference in the lineup was Youds coming out and Rob Flick coming in to be the fourth line right winger.
-Olesz led the team with four shots on goal.
Sunday, December 4 at Peoria – With his spectacular play the night before, Hutton earned the start in net for the Hogs against the Rivermen. It was also his third game in three nights as he had started for the Toledo Walleye on Friday night. Peoria got on the board first at the 5:00 mark with who else but T.J. Hensick’s eighth goal of the year and fourth against Rockford. 2:37 later, Shaun Heshka made it 2-0 with his second of the year, and against Rockford, with a shot from just inside the blue line. Adam Cracknell gave Peoria the 3-0 lead at 11:07. From the left circle, Cade Fairchild sent a bullet pass to Cracknell, who was in the right circle, and Cracknell’s one timer gave him his sixth of the year. Hayes gave the Hogs a bit of life at 16:22 as he banged in a loose puck from just outside of the crease. The Hogs had three power plays in the second and failed to convert on all of them. On their first power play of the third period, the Hogs finally converted. Morin went hard to the net and tipped in Connelly’s pass for his fifth goal of the season at 5:02. It was Morin’s first goal since November 11th when he tallied twice in Peoria. Peoria extended their lead to 5-2 with goals from Jonathan Cheechoo at 14:27 and Phil McRae at 16:14. McRae’s goal was an innocent looking shot from the left halfwall that some how got by Hutton. The game was played with an edge by both teams, but it became really chippy after McRae’s goal. All at 16:57, Morin and Stefan Della Rovere dropped the gloves – Della Rovere got the best of Morin in that bout – Shaw received a ten minute misconduct – his second of the game – Rivs goalie Ben Bishop was tagged with a double minor for roughing, and Brennan Evans also received a ten minute misconduct. Peoria was able to hang on to the 5-2 lead for their 11th win of the season.
-Sunday was a high-shooting affair. The Hogs outshot the Rivs 49-41. The breakdown for each period was: 20-11 Rivs, 17-13 Hogs, and 21-8 Hogs.
-Rockford went 1-9 on the power play, a combined 1-19 on the weekend, and Peoria went 0-3.
-Morin registered a team high seven shots on goal.
-Shaw racked up a total of 22 penalty minutes.
-Hutton was credited with the secondary assist on Morin’s power play goal.
-Gilbert was out of the lineup Sunday night, despite finishing Saturday’s game. Apparently, his shakeup was more serious than it appeared. Youds took his spot in the lineup and they rotated seven D instead of having him fill in on the 4th line again.
-The IceHogs are offering up a holiday hat trick! This ticket package includes two tickets to the Charlotte game on December 30th, two tickets to the Chicago game on January 20th, two vouchers for any of the rest of the 2011-12 home games, 2 Hogs baseball hats, and an authentic puck all in a collector’s edition Hogs tin. Ticket prices vary from $59-$99, depending on the desired section the seats are in.
–Friday, December 2 – Hutton and Flick were recalled from Toledo.
–Sunday, December 4 – Byron Froese was reassigned by the Blackhawks to Rockford from Toledo. He played in three games for the Walleye in order to get more ice time after being a healthy scratch with the Hogs for a couple of games. He tallied a goal and an assist while in T-Town.
-Friday, December 9 vs Chicago at 7:05
-Saturday, December 10 vs Grand Rapids at 7:05
-Sunday, December 11 at Milwaukee at 4:05