The Rockford IceHogs are closing out the 2020-21 season this weekend with a home-and-home with the Chicago Wolves. For the Blackhawks AHL affiliate, the season concludes much like it began.
The Hogs dropped a 6-5 game in Hoffman Estates to the Wolves. This is Rockford’s third-straight loss; the piglets lost on Friday and again Sunday to Iowa.
The season commenced at the Triphahn Center Ice Arena (the Wolves practice facility) and will end there on Saturday night. The Wolves will be hoisting the vaunted Illinois Lottery Cup, having beaten Rockford in seven of the nine games held so far between the two teams.
The rivalry has been one-sided to say the least. Chicago has boasted a loaded squad for the bulk of the season, yet the only hardware they will hoist will be the above mentioned talisman. The AHL’s Central Division will eschew postseason activities; the Wolves can take their trophy from Rockford and go home.
The IceHogs would be going home regardless, being in the division basement by a considerable margin. They were pretty up front in their intentions of getting ice time for a young group. In all, 35 skaters and six goalies got into the action during what amounted to extended prospect camp.
Rookie goalie Tom Aubrun got his first start of the season for the Hogs on Monday, giving up four goals to the Wolves in the first period on the way to the loss. Before that, Iowa dominated Rockford in DesMoines Friday night, winning 6-1 before grinding out a 2-0 win over the IceHogs at the BMO Harris Bank Center Sunday afternoon.
No Recaps, Just Musings
- The final two games with the Wild were brutal affairs. Iowa wanted to get physical with the IceHogs and did so in the two wins.
- Brandon Pirri, who did not travel to Iowa, was pointless on Sunday to bring his five-game point streak to a close. He responded with two goals against the Wolves, pulling him into a tie with Chris Wilkie for the team lead in that category with eight.
- For the most part, Rockford allowed far more up-close opportunities to their opponents than the Hogs were able to generate in their last three contests. This has been the theme for the piglets; they just can’t maneuver their way to a lot of high-percentage shots.
- Defenseman Cliff Watson, who is the captain of the Indy Fuel of the ECHL, played in all three games for Rockford, picking up an assist Monday afternoon. He has been signed to four PTO contracts by the Hogs this season.
- Remember back when I openly wondered what happened to Jack Ramsey, the defenseman who signed an AHL contract with Rockford last spring? The best I can offer is that he looks to have retired.
Live From The BMO
My number came up in the ticket lottery the IceHogs held for season ticket holders, so I will be attending the home finale Friday night. You’ll get intermission updates along with whatever observations I can muster. Follow me @JonFromi on twitter for all the fun.