Week five featured two big Midwest Division games for the IceHogs with tilts against the Griffins and the Admirals.
Friday, November 9 at Grand Rapids – The IceHogs rolled into Grand Rapids for their second tilt of the season against the Griffins on Friday night and a slow start bit them in the butt, yet again. At the 2:10 mark of the first period, Riley Sheahan tallied his second goal of the season to give the home team the early lead. 3:30 later, Rockford defenseman Shawn Lalonde tied the game at one with his second goal of the season, assisted by forward Jimmy Hayes. Hogs forward Brandon Saad earned his first career professional goal 36 seconds later to give Rockford their first lead of the night. Brendan Smith tied the game back up for Grand Rapids just under three minutes after the halfway mark of the period with his second goal of the 2012-13 season. The crazy first period wasn’t quite done just yet. Sheahan added his second goal of the night at 16:42 to give Grand Rapids the 3-2 lead.
Smith struck again at 4:37 of the second period to give Grand Rapids a two goal lead with a power play marker. Hayes cut the Rockford deficit to one with a shorthanded goal at 7:50 of the period, but that was as close as the Hogs would get for the rest of the evening. With eight seconds left in the third period, Francis Pare secured the win for the Griffins with an empty net goal.
-Rockford outshot Grand Rapids 30-23.
-The IceHogs didn’t convert on any of their three power play chances; the Griffins tallied on one of their three man advantages.
–Carter Hutton was in net for the IceHogs on Friday and Petr Mrazek was between the pipes for the Griffins.
-Defenseman Brett Lebda led the IceHogs with 5 shots on goal.
-Forward Kyle Beach received a match penalty in the second period for a check to the head. Consequentially, he was handed a one game suspension.
-The three stars were: 1 – Brendan Smith 2 – Riley Sheahan 3 – Jimmy Hayes
-The scratches were: Brandon Svendsen (upper body), Klas Dahlbeck (healthy), Wade Brookbank, Dylan Olsen, and Andrew Shaw (all suspended).
Saturday, November 10 vs. Milwaukee – The IceHogs were back at it the following night, looking for redemption for their Friday night loss to Grand Rapids. But, they got out to a similar start as the previous night. 1:54 into the first period, Chris Mueller put a rebound past Hogs goalie Alec Richards to give the visitors the early lead. That all happened right after Brandon Saad almost set up forward Rob Flick with a turn-around pass from the left circle. The puck just missed Flick’s stick as he drove to the front of the net. At 8:39 of the first, center Brandon Pirri tied the game up for Rockford with his sixth goal of the season as he sent a shot that went top shelf past Admirals goalie Jeremy Smith from the right circle.
Mike Moore gave Milwaukee their lead back at 3:28 of the second period while the Ads were on the power play. It was a shot from the point and was set up by Patrick Cehlin and Michael Latta. Moore added his second goal of the evening at 7:21 of the second just after a power play for the Ads had expired. He went five-hole on Richards. 36 seconds later, Austin Watson tallied his third goal of the season to give the Ads a 4-1 lead with a shot from the left hashmarks. IceHogs forward Jeremy Morin cut the Milwaukee lead to two with a falling down shot from the bottom of the right circle at 13:07 for his fourth marker of the 2012-13 season. And that would end up being the final as the third period was a relatively uneventful one. The Hogs dropped their second straight game in as many nights to a Midwest Division rival.
-The IceHogs outshot the Admirals 26-22.
-Rockford went 0-for-4 on the power play and Milwaukee went 1-for-6.
-Forward Jeremy Morin led the Hogs with 4 shots on goal.
–Brandon Saad was one of the IceHogs’ best players on the ice on Saturday night. He was doing everything right: going to the front of the net, making great passes, using his speed effectively, and even throwing the body around a bit.
-The three stars were: 1 – Mike Moore 2 – Patrick Cehlin 3 – Jeremy Morin
-Some of the power play units that were used were:
Marcus Kruger – Martin St. Pierre – Ben Smith
Adam Clendening – Brett Lebda
Brandon Saad – Brandon Pirri – Jeremy Morin
Nick Leddy – Shawn Lalonde
-Some of the penalty killers that were used were: Brandon Bollig, Ben Smith, Joe Lavin, Shawn Lalonde; Martin St. Pierre, Brandon Saad, Ryan Stanton, Nick Leddy; Jeremy Morin, Philippe Paradis, Klas Dahlbeck, Shawn Lalonde; Marcus Kruger, Jimmy Hayes, Joe Lavin, Ryan Stanton; Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin, Joe Lavin, Klas Dahlbeck.
-The scratches were: Brandon Svendsen (upper body), Wade Brookbank (healthy), Kyle Beach, Dylan Olsen, and Andrew Shaw (all suspended).
-The lines and D pairs were constantly changing as seven defensemen were used, but they generally looked a little like this:
Jeremy Morin – Brandon Pirri – Ben Smith
Peter LeBlanc – Marcus Kruger – Brandon Bollig
Philippe Paradis – Jimmy Hayes – Brandon Saad
Klas Dahlbeck (was used on D, not at wing) – Martin St. Pierre – Rob Flick
Nick Leddy – Ryan Stanton
Brett Lebda – Adam Clendening
Joe Lavin – Shawn Lalonde
–Hog Talk is back next Monday at District Bar and Grill in Rockford. The guests will be assistant coach Steve Poapst and forwards Brandon Pirri and Brandon Saad. The show on Monday runs from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will be shown on 23.2 Weather Now in Rockford on Tuesday from 7 p. m. to 8 p.m.
-Currently, the IceHogs have a record of 5-6-0-1 (11 points) and are in 12th place in the Western Conference. They are four points behind eighth place Houston. In the Midwest Division, the Hogs are in fourth (out of five teams) and are 5 points behind first place Grand Rapids. **This is before all of Tuesday’s games had gone final.
Wednesday, November 14 vs. Peoria at 7:05 p.m.
Friday, November 16 vs. Houston at 7:05 p.m.
Sunday, November 18 at Houston at 5:05 p.m. (This game will be played at the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota)