The IceHogs went into the holiday break on a low note and were on that same note coming out of the break. Two big divisional games against the Milwaukee Admirals and Chicago Wolves left the Hogs with more coal in their stockings.
Monday, December 26 at Milwaukee – Monday night’s tilt didn’t start the way the Hogs envisioned the game right after Christmas would go. The Admirals scored the lone tally of the first period to give them the 1-0 lead on Teemu Laakso’s second goal of the season. Jimmy Hayes brought the Hogs back to even at 4:37 of the second period with his fifth goal of the year. Ben Smith gave Rockford the lead 58 seconds later. Less than six minutes later, Mark Van Guilder tallied for Milwaukee to tie it back up and the Ads wouldn’t look back after that. They scored five unanswered goals throughout the rest of the second and the third periods to give them a 7-2 lead by the 16:12 mark of the third. Byron Froese tallied at 18:48 for Rockford to make it 7-3, but all it did was change the score as Milwaukee rolled to the victory.
-Milwaukee outshot Rockford 32-27.
-The Ads scored five power play goals on seven power play opportunites. Meanwhile, the Hogs failed to convert on all four of their chances.
-Brandon Segal led the Hogs with four shots on goal.
-Philippe Paradis was the lone healthy scratch for Rockford as Kyle Beach (shoulder) and Alexander Salak (lower body) remain out.
-Life without Brett McLean for four games started Monday night as he plays for Canada in the Spengler Cup.
-Carter Hutton started in net for the Hogs, but was pulled in favor of Alec Richards in the third period after six goals against.
Thursday, December 29 at Chicago – Thursday night started much like Monday night as the opposing team scored the first goal of the game. Tim Miller scored at the 1:06 mark of the first period to give Chicago the lead. Kevin Connauton made it 2-0 at 14:29 on the power play with a bomb from the right point that beat Hutton blocker side. Nolan Baumgartner made it 3-0 on his first tally of the year, also on the power play, with less than three minutes to go in the period with his shot from the left circle. There was a lot of traffic in front of Hutton and he never saw it, much like Connauton’s goal. Richards then came in and started the second period in net for the Hogs. At 15:42 of the period, Antoine Roussel collected a Stefan Schneider rebound in the slot and fired it past Richards. Andrew Shaw got Rockford on the board with his tenth of the year at 18:35. Miller had gone to the box for a delay of game penalty and the Hogs converted. Shaw tallied his second othe night at 2:50 of the third period with a backhanded shovel shot from below the goal line. Shawn Lalonde brought Rockford to within one with a shot from the point at 7:14. Shaw was providing traffic in front of Wolves goalie Matt Climie. It was only Lalonde’s second goal of the season. That was as close as the Hogs would get though, despite carrying most of the play for the rest of the period. Schneider registered an empty net goal at 19:26 to seal the 5-3 victory for the Wolves.
-Rockford outshot Chicago 38-32.
-The Hogs went 1-7 on the power play and Chicago went 2-6.
-Brian Connelly and Jeremy Morin led the Hogs with six shots on goal a piece.
-Rostislav Olesz fell awkwardly during a play in the first period in the offensive zone and didn’t take many shifts afterwards. He didn’t play at all in the third.
-Lalonde blocked a shot with his right hand at the end of the second and was in some pain. He missed the first couple of shifts of the third but, obviously, did return.
-Beach and Salak remained out with their issues while Paradis (sick) and Rob Flick (healthy) were the other scratches.
-Lines and D pairs:
Shaw – Brandon Pirri – Morin
David Gilbert – Chris DiDomenico – Segal
Olesz – Peter LeBlanc – Smith
Brandon Bollig – Froese – Ben Youds
Ryan Stanton – Connelly
Dylan Olsen – Brian Fahey
Joe Lavin – Lalonde
–Monday, December 26 – DiDomenico was reassigned to Rockford from Toledo and Youds was loaned to the Walleye.
–Tuesday, December 27 – DiDomenico was sent back to Toledo.
–Wednesday, December 28 – DiDomenico was reassigned to Rockford from Toledo again.
–Thursday, December 29 – Youds was recalled from Toledo, Hayes was recalled to the Blackhawks, and Pirri was sent back down to Rockford.
Friday, December 30 vs Charlotte at 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, December 31 at Peoria at 6:00 p.m.