Hockey

High On The Hog: Getting Physical

The Rockford IceHogs entered this weekend with three games in three days on the schedule. The piglets picked up three standings points, splitting two games with a physical Milwaukee Admirals squad and dropping a shootout in Rosemont.

The IceHogs didn’t fare as well in terms of health.

It’s possible that Rockford will be on a three-game road trip without its two leading scorers. Brett Connolly (5 G, 6 A) was injured in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Wolves. Interim head coach Anders Sorensen listed the veteran forward as “day-to-day” in his postgame interview Sunday night after the IceHogs beat Milwaukee 2-1.

In the third period of that contest, Lukas Reichel (7 G, 5 A), took a spill into the half boards and was down for several minutes. He was helped from the ice and did not return to action.

The IceHogs are currently scoring 2.67 goals a game even with Reichel and Connolly. Losing either player crimps Rockford’s offense. Losing both would be a severe blow as the Hogs begin play in December.

Rockford is now 6-7-1-1 on the season and in fifth place in the Central Division. They visit Milwaukee on Wednesday night, then spend the upcoming weekend in Grand Rapids, where the IceHogs will face the Griffins on Friday and Saturday.

 

Weekend Musings

  • Collin Delia followed up a big start in Chicago November 20 with another impressive start despite taking the loss Saturday. He stopped 26 of 28 shots in regulation and overtime. Starts are going to be infrequent for Delia, as well as for Malcom Subban. Both goalies are going to have to make the most of the time they get in the Hogs net.
  • If Connolly and Reichel are out of the lineup this week, Dylan McLaughlin may be able to pick up some of the scoring slack. McLaughlin is currently on a five-game point streak. Alex Nylander had the game-winner off a rebound of McLaughlin’s shot; both players are going to be counted on heavily in the next few games.
  • Rockford fell behind in each game this weekend. The piglets fell behind 2-0 in what was a listless 5-2 loss to the Admirals Friday, then allowed the game’s first goals to Chicago and Milwaukee on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Kale Howarth picked up his first AHL goal in his third game with the Hogs. He also got into a scrap with Milwaukee’s Ben Harpur after Howarth hip-checked an Admiral into the end boards. Howarth could be an interesting player to watch. I don’t believe him to be a fighter, but he plays rugged and Rockford could use another player who can hang around the net.
  • In 15 games, the IceHogs have scored the first goal three times. They’re 2-1 in those games.
  • Rockford has not out shot an opponent this season.
  • It should come as no surprise that attendance is down at the BMO. Rockford averaged 2447 fans in their seven home dates in November. On Friday night matchups with traditional rivals Chicago and Milwaukee, the best the Hogs could do was to fill the barn to half-capacity. Of course, the current landscape explains why some fans may be staying home for the time being. Attendance may be a moot point with the Blackhawks committing the next 15 seasons to Rockford. Still, the atmosphere on Sunday and weeknight games is non-existent.

Follow me @JonFromi on twitter for my thoughts on the IceHogs throughout the season.