On Friday at 2:00 p.m. CDT, the American Hockey League released the much-anticipated 2012-13 schedule.
The location of where the IceHogs will open the 2012-13 season was revealed today: Saturday, October 13th in Chicago. The game in itself should draw a large attendance with it being the Wolves’ home opener, but add in the baby Blackhawks being the opponent and the possibility of an NHL lockout and the chances for a huge crowd go through the roof. The Hogs are back at the Allstate Arena the next afternoon for a rematch with the Wolves. Rosemont wasn’t very kind to the Hogs in 2011-12. They went 2-4-0-0 in six games there last year. During last season as a whole, the Hogs posted a record of 6-6-0-0 against their I-90 rivals.
The city of Rockford welcomes its team back to the BMO Harris Bank Center on Saturday, October 20th. The Hogs are set to take on the Charlotte Checkers on home-opening night. The Checkers are back for their last game in Rockford for 2012-13 the next evening. Since the Checkers were moved to the West Division from the Midwest Division earlier in the summer, they only play Rockford four times this season, as opposed to the eight times the teams faced each other last year. During the last campaign, the IceHogs and Checkers faced each other for the first time in both of their franchise histories on November 6th. Overall, Rockford went 2-3-0-3 against the Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate.
The November calendar doesn’t look out of the ordinary at first glance, aside from the fact that the Lake Erie Monsters are on it three times. But, the November 18th road game against the Houston Aeros is a special one; it is going to be played in Minnesota at the Excel Energy Center–home of the Minnesota Wild, the Aeros’ AHL affiliate. Last season, the Hogs took the W from Houston in three of the four tilts in which they faced off. Two of those wins came at the BMO in March.
The Hogs wrap up their regular season home games for the year on Friday, April 12th, which is also their last game against the Wolves for the year. They complete the 76th and final regular season game on Saturday, April 20th in Texas against the Stars. The teams split their four game series last year. One of the Hogs’ wins against the Stars came at home. In that particular contest on January 16th, forward Jeremy Morin scored his first goal at home in 2011-12–his previous eight all came on the road–and goaltender Carter Hutton backstopped the team to its first shutout of 2011-12.
The 2012-13 schedule is a bit nicer for the Hogs compared to last season. This year, they have five sets of three games in three nights, whereas they had nine sets last year. The breakdown of the three-in-three’s this year is: one in October, one in December, two in March, and one in April.
Throughout the year, the Hogs play 60 games on the weekends (Fridays-Sundays) and 16 during the week (Mondays-Thursdays). Two games fall on Mondays, three on Tuesdays, nine on Wednesdays–five of which are against the Peoria Rivermen, two on Thursdays, 23 on Fridays, 25 on Saturdays, and twelve on Sundays.
Here are some more interesting bits and pieces from what is sure to be an action-packed 2012-13 season for the IceHogs:
-Along with Charlotte, San Antonio only comes into Rockford in October.
-Of the Hogs’ three games against Lake Erie in November, two of them are on the road. Those two are also back-to-back games.
-The Hogs only travel to Charlotte once in December. They have back-to-back games with the Checkers to open the month.
-The Hogs will see the Milwaukee Admirals five times in December (two home games, three away games).
-Nine of the thirteen games are against the Midwest Division in December (5 vs. MIL, 2 vs. CHI, 2 vs. Grand Rapids).
-Hamilton is in town once: December 15th.
-The Hogs’ road trip to Ontario is on January 4th and 5th against Hamilton and then Toronto.
-Six of the ten games in January are against the Midwest Division.
-The Hogs see Peoria three times in February (all on the road).
-One of the three-in-three weekends will be big for Rockford. On March 15th-17th, they play the Wolves, Peoria, and the Wolves again. There could be a lot of crucial points at stake for the playoff race at that time in the season.
-Toronto comes into Rockford on March 27th.
-The Hogs’ longest road trip is four games. It starts February 1st in San Antonio and finishes a week later on February 8th in Peoria.
-The Hogs’ longest homestand is five games. It starts January 18th against Peoria and wraps up on January 26th with the Oklahoma City Barons a week and a day later.
-The last and twelfth times the Hogs will see their division rivals during the regular season:
–Grand Rapids – February 22 (home)
–Peoria – April 10 (away)
–Chicago – April 12 (home)
–Milwaukee – April 13 (away)
-The only team the Hogs don’t face from the Western Conference, yet again, is the Rochester Americans. The Hogs also don’t play any of the Eastern Conference teams during the regular season.
Here’s the IceHogs’ full 2012-13 schedule from icehogs.com.