Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hogs Sink Adirals last Friday Night 6:1

When IceHogs took to the ice last night in Rockford, they had two huge obstacles to overcome. The first was facing the Milwaukee Admirals for the first time since their post season playoff losses to them, 4-0. The second obstacle was that the IceHogs were fresh off a embarrassing loss on Wednesday to Peoria. The desire to win was burning brightly in their minds.

Rockford's Evan Brophy, assisted by Mike Brennan, was the first to light up Milwaukee's net minder Mark Dekanich at 10:04 into the 1st frame. Jack Skille, Rockford, was next in line to score, assisted by Kyle Greentree and Mark Cullen. Skille was recently reassigned this week again to Rockford by the Chicago Blackhawks. It's become very hard to keep track of his movements this season so far, as Chicago was recalling & reassigning him every other day it seemed.

IceHogs' Danny Bois opened the 2nd period, scoring at 2:11, with assists going to Rob Klinkhammer and Evan Brophy. Milwaukee was not able to answer back until 6:11 of that frame. Mark Santorelli, assisted by Peter Olivecky and Jonathon Blum. The Admirals pelleted Rockford with 16 shots on goal that frame alone, but Corey Crawford was stellar in net.
Rockford went onto score 3 more goals in the 3rd frame, defeating the 2008/09 Western Division Conference Champions. They were able to prove to both themselves and the 3926 fans in the stands, that they could indeed overcome those obstacles in their way. Corey Crawford was awarded the game's 1st Star, but it was Mark Cullen, of Rockford, who went onto to win the AHL's 3rd Star of the Night on Friday.

On a side note, Rockford's David Phillips succeeded in winning his very first AHL fight ever, against Milwaukee's Ian McKenzie. McKenzie out sized Phillips by 2 inches and 56 pounds. Phillips, a native of the UK, is playing his very first season in North America with the AHL. Phillips had taken offense to McKenzie's actions towards his teammate & goalie, Corey Crawford. Welcome to North America David!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rivermen Capitalize on IceHogs' Inabilities; Win 4:1

The Rockford IceHogs and the Peoria Rivermen met last evening in Peoria for their 3rd of 10 games scheduled this season. I fear the IceHogs forgot to get off the bus, for they seemed absent for the the first 30 minutes. The Rivermen absolutely dominated the game. They even posted more goals scored than the IceHogs had in total shots on goal for the 1st frame. The Rivermen went on to win, 4-1.

In goal for the IceHogs was Joe Fallon for the 1st & 2nd frames and was replaced by Corey Crawford at the top of the 3rd. Crawford was able to stop all 7 SOG the Rivermen sent his way. Peoria's Ben Bishop was stellar, stopping 32 of 33 SOG. Bishop was later named #1 Star of the Game. Credit goes to Peoria's Barry Tallackson, Yan Stastny, Nicholas Drazenovic and Chris Porter for goals they each scored. Kyle Greentree was the loan scorer for Rockford.

The action between Bracken Kearns and Mitch Love and several heated scrums marred the evening. IceHogs Nathan Davis' hit on Peoria's Ben Bishop behind the goal was the catalyst to a very heated scrum at 12:36 of the 3rd frame. Bishop had gone behind the net for the puck and was starting to come back around to the front when Davis appears to hit him head-on. I look for things to heat up more as the season goes on between these two teams. They almost seem to be more of a rival this season than the Wolves right now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hogs Bite Back at Wolves in Season Home Opener

Last Friday evening started out with tremendous amount of loud cheering and clapping throughout the MetroCentre, as Jim Cornelison proudly sang the Star Spangled Banner to a crowd of 4425 fans. It ended with a whimper by the Wolves, as the IceHogs took a big bite from them, winning 4:1. The game was paced with many glass rattling hard hits. Rockford came out of the gate with a force that did not let up until the final buzzer sounded. But Chicago, it seemed, was all bark but no bite. Neutered pups maybe? Rumors were heard of a possible Coaching change for Chicago if things didn't start turning around.

Danny Bois started the night at 9:24 in the 1s frame to score, with assists going to Brian Connelly and Daryl Boyle. It took Chicago until 6:15 of the 2nd frame to answer back, with credit going to Tim Stapleton. He was assisted by Spencer Machacek and Angelo Esposito. Rockford's Bryan Bickell rung the pipes after a beautiful breakaway. Mark Cullen of Rockford, assisted by Danny Bois and Simon Danis-Pepin scored little over midway into the 2nd. But it was Nathan Davis, of the IceHogs, who finished his own breakaway run by beating Chicago's nettie Manny Legace. Davis went on to seal the game for the IceHogs late in the 3rd with a empty netter. Crawford was in goal for Rockford.

Chicago's Captain, Jason Krog, apparently had a fit of temper and received a 10 minute Misconduct at 9:35 in the 3rd frame for striking the glass to the Visitor's Penalty Box. The shattered glass was scattered onto the ice below. This caused a delay in the game of approximately 20 minutes while the glass was cleaned up, a new glass set into place and the ice gone over by the Zamboni. Amazingly, there were no fights on Friday between these rivals, just a scrum or two.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Are scratching your head trying to figure out what number goes with what player as this Rockford IceHogs season begins? You're not alone. There appears to be quite a few changes to the numbers that are assigned to the players here in Rockford. You might want to get out paper & pencil and keep track for yourself. Are you ready? These are the changes so far...I think.

Jack Skille was #12 but is now #20. He's #20 in Chicago too...makes sense to have same #.

Akim Aliu was #20 but is now #19. He's also worn the #32 for the IceHogs.

Ryan Flinn was #49 but he has been released from his PTO...Buh Bye.

Pete MacArthur was #15 last season but is now #24.

Justin Hodgman was #19 pre-season...he's in Toledo right now and the Roster still has him still as #19. Weird, because Aliu is now #19.

Corey Crawford has always been #29 in Rockford and #50 in Chicago. But the IceHogs have assigned Joe Palmer #29 also. Palmer is currently in Texas and Crawford in Rockford.

Maxime Tanguay has been assigned #26 this year...that was Niklas Hjalmarsson's number the past 2 seasons. So that must mean that Hjalmarsson is sticking in Chicago?

Bracken Kearns has been assigned #6 this season...that was Jordan Hendry's number for the past 2 seasons. So, he must be sticking in Chicago with Hjalmarsson?

Danny Bois is #15 this season...this was Pete MacArthur's # last season.

Derek Nesbitt is #9 this season, previously had been #15 in the 2007/08 season.

Brian Connelly was #11 last season but he is now #10.

I think that's all the changes for now. Get it? Got it? Good. Whew!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wolves Captalize on Power Play Goals

The Rockford IceHogs wound up their five game road trip in Rosemont, IL last night, losing to the Chicago Wolves 5:4. While the Hogs seemed to dominate the 1st & 2nd periods, it was their 3rd period slide that lead to the loss. Multiple penalties during the 3rd frame allowed the Wolves to capitalize on the IceHogs' mistakes. At one time, there were multiple IceHogs players occupying the PB. Come on boys...let cooler heads prevail.
The Allstate Arena crowd appeared quite sparse, despite the announces attendance of 3,228. But, it was the middle of the week and the Wolves had yet to have won a game since the season opened. Fickle Fair Weather Fans I think. But it allowed us to spread out in our row and not sit on top of each other.
The game produced two fights in the 2nd frame, with the first one between Rockford's Adam Kearns and Chicago's Rylan Kaip. With the nod going to Kaip. But things heated up later that frame when Jake Dowell of Rockford and Nathan Oystrick of Chicago went at it. Oystrick was handed the loss, but apparently words continued between the two players, even after the linesmen separated them. Oystrick was then given both a Misconduct and a Game Misconduct penalties for his actions and was removed from the game. It will be interesting to see if any of this anger will be carried over to tomorrow night's game in Rockford between these two rival teams.
Netminders for the night were Corey Crawford for Rockford and Manny Legace for Chicago.
Goal credits for the night for Rockford go to Bois, Cullen, Aliu and Klinkhammer. Chicago players Machacek, Postma and Stapleton each scored, while Matt Anderson tallied twice. His actions also netted him AHL's #1 Star of the Night honors.
The IceHogs play next: Friday October 16, 2009 in Rockford at the MetroCentre against the Chicago Wolves. Game starts at 7:05pm. Renowned singer, Jim Cornelison, will be singing the National Anthem at the Season's Home Opener. The MetroCentre has also announced that the new entrance will be open too. On Saturday night, the IceHogs will host the Peoria Rivermen at home, puck drops at 7:05pm. Tickets still available at the box office 1-815-968-5222 for both nights.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hogs Blank Wolves 4-0 in Charity Exhibition Game 9/23/09

Last Wednesday night the Rockford IceHogs hosted the Chicago Wolves at Carlson Ice Arena for a pre-season Charity Benefit exhibition game. Proceeds from ticket sales went to the Jr IceHogs Program and Sydney Ives, a young local girl suffering from a Brain Tumor. Final score 4-0, with the IceHogs taking home the victory. The event was a success, raising a total of $2,200. Proceeds were split evenly and the checks presented at the game held on 9/26/09 in Rockford.

With a total of 43 players on the Training Camp Roster, the IceHogs were not lacking for finding bodies to fill the game roster. Twenty-three IceHogs players watched the game from the other side of the glass, many familar faces were seen amoungst them...MacArthur, Klinkhammer, Bickell, Davis, and Bertram to name just a few. Seeing these boys makes it all seem more real, that indeed it was hockey time in Rockford, to the many fans who filled the stands. Several Wolve's fans were also noted to be in attendence, nice to see them make the trip.

The game started out a bit wild and wooly, as it seemed the players spent more time chasing after the puck rather than trying to follow any kind of game plan. Once the nerves and jitters settled down, actual forthought and passing could be detected. Glass rattling checks were ofter heard throughout the game. The fans were treated to fights in both the 1st and 2nd periods. The first pair to match up was IceHogs Adam Huxley and Wolves Derek Parker. The pair seemed to start slowly, dancing across the ice for what seemed like several minutes before the first blow was thrown. Huxley ended up with the Win. In the 2nd frame, Derek Parker had his card punched for a second dance that night, this time by IceHogs player Ryan Flynn. Parker was handed the win, while Flinn retired to the locker room for stitches.

The Man from Brittan, David Phillips, scored the first goal for the Hogs, late in the 2nd frame. He caught an empty net and jettisoned the puck from the neutral zone, with assists going to Brock Wilson and Matt McIlavane. The Hogs went onto score an additional 3 more goals during the 3rd frame, with credit going to Daniel Michalsky and Jason Lepine. Lepine it appears, had a very good night, tallying 2 goals and 1 assist. Joe Palmer was in net for the IceHogs while the duty for the Wolves was shared by Kevin Armstrong and Kris Mayotte.

Coach Bill Peters watched the game from the stands, so that he could make his final notes and decisions on the players. Assistant Coach Ted Dent took control of the bench for the game while being assisted by the Toledo Walleye's Head Coach, Nick Vitucci.

On Thursday, the IceHogs announced that they had released 17 players from Camp. Players released were: A.Huzley, T.Lange, M.MacIlvane, D.Michalsky, D.Patrosso, E.Rankin, C.Robertson, B.Schell, R.Smyth, J.Tender, J.Zimmel, J.Legualt, J.Lepine, M.Maslonka, J.Milan, S.Olesky and B.Wilson. Also announced was that the Blackhawks recalled forwards Bryan Bickell and Rob Klinkhammer back to Chicago. The release of players and the recall now brings the team roster down to 24 players. On Friday, forward Evan Brophy was recalled to Chicago, joining the team just in time for their Pre-Season adventure to Finland.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Hockey Time in Rockford!

The leaves on the trees have starting to turn in Rockford, that must mean Hockey is soon to follow. The IceHogs hosted a Open House this past Friday September 18, 2009 at the Rockford MetroCentre. It featured guided tours of the facility & locker rooms, open skating, Season Tickets Sales booth, assorted IceHogs items for sale and a Q & A in a Town Hall setting with GM Mark Bernard.

The IceHogs then officially opened their Training Camp Sunday September 20, 2009 with 19 contracted players and 19 invitees. Returning from their Rookie season are standouts: Pete MacArthur, Dan Bertram, Mike Brennan, and Nathan Davis. Also returning to the IceHogs is Blackhawk prospect, Akim Aliu. The Blackhawks assigned Aliu to Rockford last week during their Training Camp in Chicago. A welcome addition to the IceHogs this season will be winger Derek Nesbitt. Nesbitt, as you may remember, was a late addition to the Hogs during the 2007-2008 season. He spent last season playing for several AHL teams.

But, the big mystery right now is: "Who will be in Goal to start the season for the IceHogs?" Both Corey Crawford and Antti Niemi have returned to the Blackhawks organization this year, but they are both still committed to the Blackhawks while they fight for the #2 spot behind starter Cristobal Huet. Apparently both Crawford & Niemi will be traveling with the Hawks when they leave for Finland next week for the team's scheduled pre-season games there. That leaves Rockford with three eager prospects to fill their skates...Joe Fallon, Joe Palmer and Alec Richards. Fallon was the IceHogs #3 man last season and filled in a few times while either Crawford or Niemi were on recall to Chicago. Fallon was based with the Blackhawks' ECHL affiliates, while Palmer and Richards were playing for their College teams last season.

The first Pre-Season Game is scheduled for tomorrow night, September 23, 2009 at the Carlson Ice Arena in Rockford. It's pits the dreaded rival team of the Chicago Wolves against the IceHogs. Tickets go on sale to the public at 12noon the day of game, only $5. All seats are general admission. Buy your tickets early, as it is a small venue. The second pre-season game is slated for Friday September 24, 2009 against the Peoria Rivermen at Peoria. On Saturday, September 25, 2009 the IceHogs will host the Rivermen at the MetroCentre for the last scheduled pre-season game. Tickets are on sale now at the Box Office and at the IceHogs store in CherryVale Mall for Saturday's game.