Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs exit from the Calder Cup Playoffs was certainly swift. The Hogs were fortunate enough to get to begin their first-round series with Lake Erie at home but made zero use of having home ice for the opening games.

Rockford dropped both games at the BMO Harris Bank Center, then traveled to Cleveland and had the Monsters complete the series sweep Saturday night. With little exception, Lake Erie was the better team and dominated play.

I’m not ready to forecast the state of the farm just yet, so I’ll focus this week’s gaze on the first-round debacle and how it came to be.

Everything Else

For the Rockford IceHogs, the postseason starts this week. The piggies of Winnebago County finished the season on a positive note and will be facing off with the Lake Erie Monsters in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

I’m going to eschew the normal recaps this week and concern myself with Rockford’s immediate future, which will commence Wednesday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Here’s a look at how the IceHogs arrived at this point of the season and what we might expect from this best-of-five series.

The Hogs slipped into third-place in the Central Division standings on the strength of three straight wins to close out the regular season. Rockford eked out a 2-1 decision in Iowa Wednesday before returning home and clobbering Grand Rapids and Milwaukee.

For Rockford, it all starts in goal…so let’s begin in net.

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs are limping into the AHL playoffs. There’s no kind way to say this. The Blackhawks AHL affiliate is putting the finishing touches on its second consecutive sub-.500 month of play, having dropped a pair of games in Lake Erie last week.

The Hogs have slid from the top of the Central Division and are battling to remain in front of the Monsters for fourth place in the division standings. The club also has the task of dealing with the negative PR that comes from the legal situation in which Garret Ross currently finds himself.

Taking the organization at its word, Rockford brass discovered this story the way the rest of us did; on the internet last weekend. It is, then, purely coincidental that the fortunes of the IceHogs have slipped dramatically in the past two months.

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The Rockford IceHogs gained a measure of swagger back over the weekend, turning the tables on the Lake Erie Monsters. Last weekend, the Hogs were on the losing end of back to back games at Lake Erie. Saturday and Sunday, it was Rockford’s turn to sweep.

Despite being out shot 74-45 in the two contests at the BMO Harris Bank Center, the IceHogs limited their guests to a single goal. The big weekend, coupled with an overtime loss to Grand Rapids Wednesday, gave Rockford five of six points in this week’s action.

Saturday, in particular, was a big night for Michael Leighton, who had himself a record-breaking evening. Good thing I was wearing my brand-spanking-new Leighton sweater.

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs, Chicago’s AHL affiliate, finished this week’s action as the leader in the Central Division standings. However, this team is definitely entering March like a lamb.

Rockford has dropped seven of its last ten. Three of those losses have come in overtime, which has kept them on top of the division for the time being. Finishing February at 3-4-3-0 suggests that this group could use a jolt of…well…something as they enter the stretch run of the 2015-16 season.

Where might that jolt come from? Allow me to grasp at a few straws…

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs, AHL affiliate to the Chicago Blackhawks, are nearing the end of an eight-game home stand. The team has continued to pace the Central Division, going 4-1-0-1 in this current stretch and gaining points in each of its past three games.

An otherwise satisfying week was marred with an injury to backup goaltender Mark Visentin, who went down in the first period of Rockford’s game with Iowa Friday night.

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs, the Blackhawks AHL affiliate in Winnebago County, have found themselves in a pretty competitive Central Division so far in 2015-16. If the first two months of the season are any indication, finishing at the top of the eight-team division may be a tall order.

Rockford’s 10-4-1-2 record and .676 points percentage would be good enough for second or third in any of the AHL’s other three divisions. In the Central, however, the IceHogs mark is only good enough for fourth.

Everything Else

If the Rockford IceHogs want to claim the AHL’s Midwest Division in 2014-15, the next two games on their schedule are vital. The IceHogs will have two shots at the team in front of them this week.

 

Rockford trails the Grand Rapids Griffins, who currently have 88 points, in the division race. The Hogs have 85 points, a game in hand on the Griffins and consecutive games against the division leaders.

 

The IceHogs are in Grand Rapids Wednesday and host the Griffins Friday night. Wins in both games would vault Rockford into first and could also pave the way for a run at the top seed in the AHL’s Western Conference.

 

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The Rockford IceHogs are locked in a tight battle for the American Hockey League’s Midwest Division. Currently, the IceHogs are even with the Milwaukee Admirals and the Grand Rapids Griffins with 66 points.

Grand Rapids has gone 7-1-2 in their last ten games to join Milwaukee and Rockford in the pursuit of a Midwest Division title. Milwaukee and Grand Rapids have a game in hand on the Hogs, who dropped two of three games this week.

 

Everything Else

The Rockford IceHogs ran their road record to 10-4-0-1 this week. The AHL’s Midwest Division leaders beat the Admirals in Milwaukee for the second time in six days Wednesday night. Rockford then split a pair of games at Lake Erie over the weekend.

Heading into another week of travel, Rockford is piling up points away from the BMO Harris Bank Center. One big factor in this road surge has been a dominating penalty kill. Come to think of it, it’s been pretty darn good at home as well.

In 2013-14, the Hogs were an absolute joke when shorthanded. They were dead last in the AHL in this department with a 72.3 success rate. Here are some numbers that show the dramatic change from a season ago: