The Rockford IceHogs took a bit of a pounding this past week. Several Blackhawks prospects got banged up in a physical affair with the Iowa Wild on November 26. Rockford came out on top in that contest, then dropped a home-and-home with the Chicago Wolves over the weekend.
Despite the losses to their Midwest Division rival, Rockford did take three of a possible six points to stay on top of the AHL standings. They did, however, pay a price for those points.
Second-year IceHogs center Alex Broadhurst is going to be on the shelf for most of the remainder of the 2014-15 season. Broadhurst took a hit along the boards late in Rockford’s win over the Wild and suffered a break in the upper part of his left arm. The damage was severe enough as to require surgery.
Broadhurst, as I mentioned last week, has struggled to get going in the first two months of the campaign. Now he faces the loss of a big chunk of his second professional season. Here’s wishing the Orland Park product a speedy recovery.
Stephen Johns missed two games this week after being hit in the back and driven into the glass earlier in that same game. Johns was taken off the ice following the hit, then returned and played the last half of the second period. He did not, however, come out for the final 20 minutes. If the upper-body injury suffered by Johns is a concussion, it should be noted that he was allowed to come back out and play, however briefly.
Mark McNeill has not yet come back from a knee injury that has kept him out since November 15. Add Vikor Svedberg also leaving Wednesday’s contest late with some bumps and bruises and reinforcements needed to be brought to town. The Hogs called up defenseman Dillon Fournier and forward Jamie Wise Friday.
Wise, who with Fournier appeared on the Hawks rookie squad in Toronto this fall, played in two games this weekend. He wore McNeill’s number 28 sweater (there were no spare Movember togs), potting his first AHL goal against Chicago on Friday before switching to number 20 Saturday.
Fournier is currently in the first year on his entry deal with the Blackhawks. He skated on Friday in Svedberg’s stead before the big Swede returned the following night.
A Slice Of The BMO
Occasionally (or pretty darn consistently, who can tell), I’ll share some of the AHL atmosphere that comes with attending a couple dozen games at the former Metro Centre each season. Here goes:
The IceHogs wore special Movember sweaters for both Wednesday and Friday’s home contests. Several were raffled and auctioned off following Friday’s game. In addition, I participated in a gathering of the whiskered on the playing surface as the IceHogs were attempting to set a Guinness record for the most people with facial hair in one place.
Apparently such a record exists (it was 462 for those who don’t have this one memorized) and was broken when over 850 bearded Hogs fans, joined by a number of players, congregated on the ice. The throng was then rewarded upon setting a Guinness record by receiving a pint of Guinness. Or not.
Teuvo Teravainen posted a two-point night against Iowa (1 G, 1 A) and picked up an assist on the lone Rockford goal in a loss to Chicago Saturday night. He had a chance to be an overtime hero Friday against the visiting Wolves when he found himself on a breakaway late in the extra period. However, Teravainen lost the handle on the attempt.
At first glance, it appeared that the kid was setting up Matt Climie for a backhand to the top of the net. After going home and watching a replay, it looked like he was going to pull the puck back to the forehand side for the shot. Regardless, the shot never got to the net and the Wolves won the game seconds later (as happens when the teams are playing 3-on-3).
Teravainen now has 13 points (3 G, 10 A) in 20 games. He is the only skater on the current roster with a negative skater rating (minus-two). Save for Broadhurst and Wise, Teravainen is the only skater that has not taken a penalty of any kind.
A Quick Check Of The Rearview Mirror
Wednesday, November 26-Rockford 6, Iowa 1
Sounds like a laugher, don’t it? Well, the Hogs went wild on the, um, Wild, though it took a while because Iowa net-minder John Curry stopped Rockford’s first 28 shots. The IceHogs bombarded Curry through the first half of the contest before Stephen Johns and Teuvo Teravainen broke the dam open following a face off win in the 12th minute of the second period.
Johns was just recently back, having returned from a hit in the back in the corner of the defensive zone by Stephane Veilleux six minutes before. He took a pass from Phillip Danault at the top of the left circle, had his first attempt blocked then floated a second attempt at the Iowa net. Teravainen got a piece of the shot, redirecting it past Curry to put Rockford up 1-0 at the 12:49 mark.
Late in the period, Dennis Rasmussen took a clearing attempt from Viktor Svedberg at center ice, streaked into the Wild zone. Rasmussen fought off the defender to get a shot on Curry at the right post. He sent the resulting rebound on a one way trip to Net City, giving the Hogs a 2-0 lead with 1:51 to play in the middle stanza.
By this point, a tilt already marked by several questionable hits and a couple of fights was ready to get seriously physical. Five minutes into the third, soon after Cody Bass bounced a shot off Drew LeBlanc in front of the net for the third Rockford goal, Alex Broadhurst was run into in the corner and into the boards by Curt Gogol. Broadhurst went down, soon to be taken to the locker room.
Zach Miskovic also went to the tunnel after trying to tie up with Gogol and taking a hard overhand right. Ryan Hartman and Bass had words for Gogol, as did Ryan Schnell, who looked like he might just come off the bench and start the inevitable donnybrook. The officials restored order, sent Hartman and Bass off with misconduct penalties before Gogol was assessed charging and fighting infractions to go with two game misconducts.
Ville Pokka made Iowa pay on the scoreboard, though it came following the expiration of what was a three-minute power play. Pokka one-timed a T.J. Brennan pass off the crossbar and in to make it 4-0 in the seventh minute. He then cleaned up Brennan’s rebound for the fifth Rockford goal a few minutes later.
Scott Darling’s shutout bid (he did stop 28 of 29 attempts) went by the wayside in the 12th minute. However, Peter Regin put back a Rasmussen attempt to upgrade the 3,305 BMO faithful from a scoop of Culvers’ frozen custard to a concrete mixer. So everyone won, really. Except Iowa, who were subjected from chirping from Schnell and the victorious Hogs (49 shots on goal) as they were leaving the ice.
Miskovic, who skated both at forward and on defense throughout the contest, did return to action. Broadhurst, who looked to be favoring his shoulder, did not (see earlier in this post for the grim diagnosis). Pokka (2 goals), Teravainen and Rasmussen (both with a goal and a helper) were the game’s three stars.
The AHL handed out suspensions aplenty for all the aforementioned shenanigans. Veilleux and Gogol each got two-games off for delivering illegal hits. Bass and Rockford coach Ted Dent were given one-game suspensions for behavior exhibited during the evening. I’m not sure what Dent did to earn the vacation but it must have come during one of several jawing sessions between the benches.
Lines (Starters in italics)
Garret Ross-Phillip Danault-Cody Bass
Ryan Hartman-Teuvo Teravainen-Peter Regin (A)
Pierre-Cedric Labrie (A)-Dennis Rasmussen-Alex Broadhurst
Ryan Schnell-Drew LeBlanc-Zach Miskovic
Stephen Johns-Viktor Svedberg
Klas Dahlbeck (A)-Kyle Cumiskey
T.J. Brennan-Ville Pokka
Michael Leighton was back from an injury and was well enough to wear a ball cap.
Scratches-Matt Carey, Mark McNeill
Power Play-0-1, though Pokka scored as Gogol was coming out of the box.
Penalty Kill-held Iowa scoreless in four attempts.
Several others pitched in in the third with Hartman and Bass serving 10 minute misconducts.
Friday, November 28-Chicago 4, Rockford 3 (OT)
Rockford’s bid for a sixth straight win came up 1:06 short at the BMO. The Wolves got a late goal to send the game into an overtime they would eventually win with a Brent Renger tally.
Chicago opened the scoring with Ty Rattie’s twelfth goal of the season just 1:49 into the contest. Pierre-Cedric Labrie took a nice pass from Matt Carey coming toward the right post and smuggled the rubber past Matt Climie to tie the game early in the second period.
The IceHogs captured the lead at the 7:59 mark when Jamie Wise, up from Indianapolis earlier that day, proved persistent in the crease to knock in a second-chance attempt of his initial shot on Climie. Wise kept knocking and got the BMO rocking with his first AHL goal, making it 2-1 Rockford. Shane Harper tied the game up at two later in the second period by using similar patience in getting a rebound past Scott Darling at the other end of the ice.
The game remained tied until the seventh minute of the third period, when Brandon Mashinter re-directed an absolute laser of a shot off the stick of T.J. Brennan. With 6:22 gone in the final frame, the Hogs held a 3-2 advantage.
Rockford had a couple of power plays separated by 11 seconds later in the third but wasn’t able to convert. The lead remained at a single goal until Chicago pulled Climie for an extra skater in the closing minutes.
At that point, a pair of former Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks teamed up to snatch victory from the Hogs. Brent Sopel sent in a shot from the point that was tipped in by Colin Fraser at the 18:54 point of the period, sending the back-and-forth affair into extra time.
Rockford had chances in the 4-on-4 portion of the overtime, which stretched to over six minutes before a stoppage allowed the officials to set up 3-on-3 skating with just over 48 seconds to play. Darling and the IceHogs withstood a frantic Wolves assault on the net and a high-bouncing puck was knocked out of harm’s way. The puck slid into open ice, where Teuvo Teravainen collected it well behind the three Chicago skaters.
Teravainen headed out of the Rockford zone with the game on his stick. With no one ahead of him but Climie at the other end, over 5000 Hogs fans (save the ones who left early to get to Culvers before it closed) rose as one as the young Finn set up a top-shelf backhand that would have blown the roof off the place.
Much to the chagrin of the local roof-repair companies, Teravainen lost control of the puck. It slid harmlessly to the end boards, where the Wolves picked up and started back the other way. Regner brought the evening to an anti-climactic finish with 11 seconds left in overtime.
The pressbox quickly took Teravainen’s name off its star list, voting Regner top honors. Mashinter and Wise were afforded second and third stars, respectively. Let me just add, with grudging respect, that Ty Rattie is a hell of a goal scorer. Friday’s goal was his first against Rockford this season but probably won’t be his last. The kid had five of his 31 goals against the Hogs last season.
Lines (Starters in italics)
Brandon Mashinter (A)-Teuvo Teravainen-Peter Regin
Garret Ross-Phillip Danault-Ryan Hartman
Matt Carey-Dennis Rasmussen-Pierre-Cedric Labrie (A)
Ryan Schnell-Drew LeBlanc-Jamie Wise
Klas Dahlbeck (A)-Kyle Cumiskey
T.J. Brennan-Ville Pokka
Dillion Fournier-Zach Miskovic
Scratches-Stephen Johns, Viktor Svedberg, Cody Bass, Alex Broadhurst, Mark McNeill
Power Play-0-5 on the night.
Penalty Kill-held the Wolves scoreless in three attempts.
Saturday, November 29-Chicago 2, Rockford 1
The Wolves held serve at the Allstate Arena, propelled by a pair of power play goals by Ty Rattie and Shane Harper. Michael Leighton made his first start since November 8 and kept Rockford’s chances alive until the final minutes by making 39 saves on 41 Chicago shots.
After a fast-paced opening 20 minutes failed to yield a goal by either team, the Wolves started the second period on a power play. Brandon Mashinter had been hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty as the teams made their way to the locker rooms following the first period. Rattie’s shot from the point beat Leighton 50 seconds into the middle stanza. See, I told you it wasn’t going to be his last goal against Rockford.
Harper tipped in a Brent Sopel shot five minutes into the third period for what proved to be the game-winner. Leighton was spectacular all night in his return from a back injury but there wasn’t much he was going to do about this one.
The Hogs got a break late in the game when Brent Renger was called for interference and the Chicago bench was assessed with an unsportsmanlike conduct minor, giving Rockford four minutes of power play time with 4:59 to play.
The IceHogs managed to draw within a goal at the 16:00 mark. Matt Climie was well screened by Mashinter and Ville Pokka’s shot from the left circle slipped by Climie and into the promised land. Rockford still had two minutes of power play time to even the score, but Chicago slammed the door on the comeback attempt.
Leighton was voted the game’s second star for a strong effort after being out of the crease for eight games. Rattie, who now leads the AHL with 13 goals, was the game’s first star.
Lines (Starters in italics)
Garret Ross-Phillip Danault-Cody Bass (A)
Brandon Mashinter (A)-Teuvo Teravainen-Peter Regin(A)
Matt Carey-Dennis Rasmussen-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Schnell-Jamie Wise-Pierre-Cedric Labrie
Klas Dahlbeck-Kyle Cumiskey
T.J. Brennan-Ville Pokka
Viktor Svedberg-Zach Miskovic
Scratches-Dillion Fournier, Stephen Johns, Drew LeBlanc, Alex Broadhurst, Mark McNeill
Penalty Kill-Chicago was 2-4 to account for both its goals.
Rockford is on the road Thursday night in Milwaukee before returning to the BMO for Saturday and Sunday games against Grand Rapids and Lake Erie.