IceHogs Thursday: Rockford Snatches 4 Of 6 Points

Viva RockVegas! (Photo Credit: Kim Wrona)

The IceHogs had three huge games on tap for the end of week 23 and the beginning of week 24. The weekend featured a home-and-home series against Midwest Division rival Milwaukee and then the Hogs traveled down to the Sooner State to take on Western Conference leading Oklahoma City.

Saturday, March 10 at Milwaukee – The Admirals’ ship started sinking early on in the weekend. Chris DiDomenico got the Ads down at 13:11 of the first period on Saturday as he scored from right out in front of Ads goaltender Jeremy Smith. In the second period, Peter LeBlanc gave Rockford a chance to open a two goal lead on Milwaukee as he had a shorthanded breakaway, but Smith made the save. In the process, LeBlanc drew a Jonathon Blum slashing penalty that resulted in nine seconds of 4-on-4 hockey and then an IceHogs power play that carried over for 44 seconds in the third period. Unfortunately for the visitors, they weren’t able to capitalize. Brandon Svendsen gave Rockford that two goal lead at 5:33 of the final frame with a bullet of a shot from the right circle. Blum ended Hogs netminder Carter Hutton’s shutout bid 47 seconds later with his shot from the left point. The goal came seven seconds into an Ads power play. Philippe Paradis reinstated the Hogs’ two goal lead with his third tally of the season at 9:23. DiDomenico provided a great screen in front of Smith and the netminder never saw the shot from the left circle. LeBlanc added an empty net goal with 45 seconds left to give the Hogs a huge 4-1 road victory.

-The IceHogs outshot the Admirals 29-23.

-Rockford went 0-for-5 on the power play and killed off three of Milwaukee’s four man advantages.

-Captain Brian Fahey was +4 on the night.

-Svendsen, Jeremy Morin, and Rostislav Olesz all registered four shots on goal.

-The power play units kept getting switched up on Saturday. Forwards Byron Froese, LeBlanc, and Olesz were paired up with DiDomenico and Ben Youds, Shawn Lalonde and Youds, and Fahey and Joe Lavin on the points throughout the night. There was one unit of Marc-Olivier Vallerand, Morin, and DiDomenico up front with Matt Fornataro and Fahey on the blue line and then one with Vallerand, Morin, and Fornataro with Youds and Stanton on the backend.

-Speaking of Vallerand:  He recorded his first career AHL point in Saturday’s contest with his assist on Paradis’ goal.

-The IceHogs swept the three stars in the opposition’s barn Saturday night:  1 – DiDomenico 2 – Svendsen 3 – Hutton

-The scratches were:  Kyle Beach (shoulder), Ben Smith (right hip labral tear and hernia), Brandon Pirri (lower body), and David Gilbert (healthy).

-Lines and D pairs:

Olesz – LeBlanc – Morin

DiDomenico – Froese – Svendsen

Paul Zanette – Vallerand – Fornataro

Wade Brookbank – Rob Flick – Paradis

Stanton – Youds

Lavin – Fahey

Lalonde – Simon Danis-Pepin

Sunday, March 11 vs Milwaukee – Carter Hutton and Jeremy Smith were back between the pipes for the Hogs and Ads respectively for the backend of this home-and-home series. Rockford had a chance to take the early lead after killing off a high-sticking penalty to Rostislav Olesz 38 seconds in. Marc-Olivier Vallerand hit the right post with a wide open net staring at him and with Smith down and out. With 8:19 to go in the period, Byron Froese beautifully set up Chris DiDomenico out front with a behind-the-back pass, but Smith came over to make the save. Ryan Stanton wouldn’t be denied by Smith though. While on a power play, the blue liner sent a rocket of a shot past Smith for his second goal of the season and his first at home this year. The right post bit the Hogs again before the period ended. From the ground, Peter LeBlanc whacked at a loose puck and it got by Smith, but hit the inside of the right post instead of going visibly over the goal line. For the second straight game, Brandon Svendsen scored the second Hogs goal on the night. Froese set him up and all Svendsen had to do was tap it in from out front. His third goal on 2011-12 campaign came at the minute mark of the second period. 2:24 into the third period, Rob Flick gave Rockford a 3-0 lead with his third tally of the season. Milwaukee made things interesting with a little over four minutes to play in the period. Taylor Beck broke Hutton’s bid for another shutout with a tip-in from out in front and then Chris Mueller, on the power play, cut the lead to 3-2 after a behind the bet set up from Beck with 2:01 to play. Smith was pulled for the sixth attacker, but as soon as he got to the bench, Beck was called for boarding Stanton with 58.2 seconds left and the Hogs were able to hang on for the “W”, even with Smith pulled again for the play to be 5-on-5.

-Rockford outshot Milwaukee 36-26.

-The IceHogs went 1-for-6 on the power play and Milwaukee went 1-for-3.

-Brian Fahey and Joe Lavin were both +2.

-Jeremy Morin and LeBlanc led the Hogs with five shots on goal a piece.

-The power play units from Sunday included:  Vallerand, Morin, and Matt Fornataro up front with Stanton and Shawn Lalonde and then Lavin and Fahey on the backend. Olesz, LeBlanc, and Froese up front with Ben Youds and DiDomenico on the backend was also a power play unit.

-The scratches were:  Kyle Beach (shoulder), Ben Smith (right hip labral tear and hernia), Brandon Pirri (lower body), and Paul Zanette (upper body).

-Lines and D pairs:

Olesz – LeBlanc – Morin

Svendsen – Froese – DiDomenico

David Gilbert – Vallerand – Fornataro

Wade Brookbank – Flick – Philippe Paradis

Stanton – Youds

Lavin – Fahey

Lalonde – Simon Danis-Pepin

Tuesday, March 13 at Oklahoma City – The momentum the Hogs built up over the weekend didn’t carry over into Tuesday evening’s tilt against the Barons. The home team drew the first blood of the game off of the stick of Teemu Hartikainen at 13:08 of the opening frame. Oklahoma City added two more goals at 4:41 and 6:42 of the second period to extend their lead to 3-0; Chris VandeVelde and Taylor Chorney were the goal scorers. Peter LeBlanc got one back for Rockford with a 5-on-3 power play goal at 9:59 and then Rostislav Olesz closed the gap to 3-2 at 15:04 of the third period. 15 seconds later though, Chorney tallied his second goal of the night to restore the Barons’ two goal lead. Hunter Tremblay added an empty net goal with two seconds left to make the final 5-2 OKC.

-Rockford outshot Oklahoma City 38-26.

-The IceHogs went 1-for-5 on the power play and the Barons went 1-for-4.

-Brandon Svendsen, Shawn Lalonde, LeBlanc, and Olesz each had four shots on goal.

-Carter Hutton got his ninth consecutive start in net, but was pulled in the second period in favor of Alexander Salak after three goals against.

Roster Notes

Thursday, March 8 – David Gilbert was reassigned to Rockford from Toledo.

Wednesday, March 14 – Defenseman Connor Goggin was signed to an ATO with the IceHogs. The announcement came today. He was a senior this year at Dartmouth and registered 17 points (7 G, 10 A).


-Sunday’s game against Milwaukee featured the annual live jersey auction after the game. The theme this year was “Viva RockVegas.” After all was said and done, the Hogs raised $30,312 for charity. See the press release for more and what each individual jersey went for here.

-There were some gems posted on the IceHogs’ Youtube account this week. The first is the pregame video from Sunday’s game and the second is the new “Bacon Buddies” with host Stephen Nelson, defenseman Ryan Stanton, and goaltender Carter Hutton.

-Hog Talk is back this Monday at Granite City Food and Brewery in Rockford. This week’s guests are slotted to be forward Paul Zanette, defenseman Ben Youds, and assistant coach Ben Simon. Catch the broadcast from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 100.5 NTA FM, online at, or in-person at the restaurant.

-Your weekly AHL Western Conference Standings from 8th to 15th:

8th – Lake Erie – 63 GP – 32-25-2-4 – 70 points

9th – Abbotsford – 63 GP – 32-25-3-3 – 70 points

10th – Rochester – 61 GP – 30-22-6-3 – 69 points

11th – Milwaukee – 60 GP – 30-26-2-2 – 64 points

12th – Grand Rapids – 60 GP – 27-23-6-4 – 64 points

13th – Rockford – 62 GP – 28-27-2-5 – 63 points

14th – Hamilton – 62 GP – 27-28-2-5 – 61 points

15th – Texas – 61 GP – 27-30-2-2 – 58 points

Upcoming Games

Friday, March 16 at Houston at 7:35 p.m.

Saturday, March 17 at San Antonio at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 20 vs Hamilton at 7:05 p.m.


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