The IceHogs closed out their seven game road trip with a stop in Oklahoma City and another trip to the Lone Star State. They then headed back home to Rockford and a Texas team came to them, for a change, to start off week seventeen.
Friday, January 13 at Oklahoma City – The Hogs looked to get back on the winning track Friday night in the Sooner State. Unfortunately for them, the Barons jumped on the board first with Mark Arcobello’s fourth goal of the year at 14:22 of the first period. The game was a low shooting affair from the puck drop. The first ended with the shots on goal as 7-2 in Rockford’s favor and the scoreless second period left the shots as 15-12, still in Rockford’s favor. Philippe Paradis knotted the contest up at 1 at 15:07 of the third period. It was only the 21-year-old’s second tally of the year. The goal sent the game into overtime. At 2:50, Ben Smith tipped in a Brian Fahey shot for his 11th of the season and to give the Hogs a 2-1 win.
-Rockford outshot the Barons 23-19.
-The Hogs kept the Barons scoreless on all four of their power play opportunities and the Barons stopped the Hogs on all five of their attempts.
-Smith and Joe Lavin were both +2 on the night.
-Captain Brandon Segal led the team in shots on goal with five.
-Kyle Beach (shoulder), Alexander Salak (lower body), Rostislav Olesz (upper body), Chris DiDomenico, and Shawn Lalonde (healthy) were the scratches. Lalonde had just been upgraded to a healthy scratch after recovering from an upper body injury.
-Carter Hutton started in net for Rockford.
-Friday night was Beach’s 22nd birthday.
Saturday, January 14 at San Antonio – The final game of the season’s longest road trip for Rockford found the Hogs in Texas again. They used their momentum from their overtime win the night before to draw the first blood of the game with 14 seconds left in the opening period. Ben Smith tipped in Joe Lavin’s shot for his 12th tally of the 2011-12 campaign. The rest of the game was scoreless until past the halfway point of the third period when former IceHog Bracken Kearns scored at 11:49 to tie the game. Mark Cullen assisted on the goal; he’s also a former Hog. Less than two minutes later, guess what, another former IceHog, Greg Rallo, tallied his ninth of the year to give the Rampage the 2-1 lead and they wouldn’t look back after that as they held on for the victory.
-San Antonio outshot Rockford 31-27.
-Rockford didn’t have any power plays during the game. San Antonio went 0-3 on their power plays though.
-Defenseman Brian Connelly led the Hogs with four shots on goal.
-There were four fights in this tilt: Rob Flick vs. Eric Selleck (twice–once in the first and then in the second), Brian Fahey vs. Kearns, and Brandon Segal vs. James Wright.
-The lineup was the same, including the starting goaltender, except for Shawn Lalonde being inserted into the lineup, replacing David Gilbert; The Hogs rotated seven D on the night.
Monday, January 16 vs Texas – The IceHogs finally returned home after going 3-4-0-0 on their season-long seven game road trip for a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day afternoon game. Hogs goaltender Carter Hutton and Stars netminder Andrew Raycroft were forced to be sharp early. Hutton made his first spectacular save of the game not too long into the first period. He was able to come across his crease and make a beauty of a glove save on a Stars player, robbing him of what would’ve been a sure goal. Raycroft answered back with a nice save of his own as he fought off a Jeremy Morin deflection after a harmless dump-in bounced off of Morin. Brandon Svendsen, on a PTO with the IceHogs, started the scoring at 8:49 of the second period. Brandon Pirri sauced a beautiful pass through the slot over to Svendsen on Raycroft’s right and he buried it into the empty cage for his first goal of the year in the AHL. In the third period, Hogs captain Brandon Segal had a shorthanded opportunity to increase the lead to 2-0. He attempted a backhanded, shortside shot, but the puck jumped on him at the last second and it went just wide. The Hogs did get that insurance goal at 16:01 of the period while on the power play. From the doorstep, Morin fired home a Ben Smith rebound for his ninth tally of the season and his first all year at the friendly confines of the BMO Harris Bank Center. The IceHogs held on for the victory, improving their record to 15-21-1-3 (34 points). They’re still last in the Western Conference. The Grand Rapids Griffins are in 14th, three points ahead of Rockford with two games in hand. Rockford is nine points out of a playoff spot; Peoria is in eighth with a record of 20-17-2-1. The Rivs also have 40 games played, like the Hogs. (This is all before Thursday’s games were over, by the way).
-Rockford outshot Texas 34-31.
-The IceHogs went 1-4 on the power play and the Stars went 0-4.
-Peter LeBlanc registered a team high five shots on goal for the Hogs.
-Hutton’s blanking of the Stars was the first shutout for Rockford all season.
-Smith skated in his 100th career professional game on Monday afternoon.
-The injury report still looks the same for Rockford. The only changes in the lineup were Joe Lavin sitting as a healthy scratch, which dropped the D rotation back to the normal six and Chris DiDomenico filled in at the empty forward position from last game.
-Lines and D pairs:
Smith – Brandon Pirri – Byron Froese
Morin – LeBlanc – Segal
Svendsen – Brett McLean – DiDomenico
Brandon Bollig – Rob Flick – Philippe Paradis
Ben Youds – Brian Connelly
Ryan Stanton – Shawn Lalonde
Dylan Olsen – Brian Fahey
-Hog Talk is back on Monday at 6 p.m. on 100.5 NTA FM, nta.fm, or in-person at Granite City Food and Brewery in Rockford. Rob Flick, Byron Froese, and head coach Ted Dent will be the guests this week.
-Brandon Pirri is tenth in AHL scoring. In 38 games played, he has 15 goals and 22 assists for a total of 37 points. He’s tied with Norfolk’s Mark Barberio, who has 5 goals and 32 assists in 38 games, for that spot.
–Friday, January 13 – Ben Smith was reassigned to Rockford from the Blackhawks.
–Tuesday, January 17 – Ben Smith was recalled to Chicago.
–Wednesday, January 18 – Paul Zanette was recalled from Toledo as Brett McLean was put on unconditional waivers.
–Thursday, January 19 – Brett McLean cleared waivers and has gone to play in Lugano of the Swiss League.
Friday, January 20 vs Chicago at 7:05 p.m. (It’s Ted Dent bobblehead night!)
Saturday, January 21 at Chicago at 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 22 vs Milwaukee at 5:05 (It’s Blackhawks Night at the BMO.)