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The Rockford IceHogs 2014-15 season came to an end Sunday afternoon, when they were eliminated from the Calder Cup Playoffs by Midwest Division rival Grand Rapids. The Griffins halted Rockford’s postseason in the conference semifinal in five games with a 5-3 win.

In reality, the Hogs were pretty much done in the previous Thursday.

That’s when Grand Rapids took command of the series with a 2-1 overtime victory. Tyler Bertuzzi’s second goal of the contest came 13 seconds into extra time and proved to be the backbreaker in what had been a pretty evenly played series.

Rockford had itself a nice run this season. Ultimately, however, it culminated in the IceHogs losing to a team that was superior at this stage of the spring. Why is Grand Rapids still playing hockey while the Hogs start cleaning out their lockers? Let’s explain.

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The Rockford IceHogs will begin postseason play for the first time in five seasons this weekend. The AHL has a different idea of what “home ice” entails, so the boys will begin the opening round of the playoffs in Texas.

Rockford, who finished the season as the fourth-seed, will play Friday and Saturday night against the fifth-seeded Stars. The remainder of the five-game best of will take place at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

How do we feel about the opponent the Hogs have drawn? Well, they did everything they could to make this series happen.

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The Rockford IceHogs seem to be peaking at the perfect time of the season. Winners of eight of their last ten games, the Hogs have assured themselves of the team’s first trip to the AHL postseason in five years.

The IceHogs have avoided lengthy slumps that have doomed past campaigns. The worst stretch of hockey for Rockford came from November 28 to January 19, when the team was 8-9-4-1 in 22 games.

The Hogs tend to jell in the spring and this season has been no exception. What has been the difference is the team’s 15-4-0-1start. With 41 wins this season with seven games to play, the AHL franchise high water mark of 44 victories (set in 80-game seasons in 2007-08 and 2009-10) is certainly within reach.

You can point to a lot of factors that have gotten Rockford to this point. Here are some players who have provided a recent jump in the step of the IceHogs.

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The Rockford IceHogs were left a bit shorthanded for last weekend’s action. Adam Clendening, Joakim Nordstrom and Phillip Danault are all traveling with the Blackhawks. Mark McNeill and Michael Leighton are recovering from injuries. It wasn’t a stretch for you to believe the Hogs might take some lumps with three Midwest Division games in three days.

In this case, you’d be wrong.

Rockford ran the table this weekend, winning home games with Iowa and Milwaukee at the BMO Friday and Saturday before shutting out the Wolves in Chicago Sunday afternoon. With 29 points through 19 games, Rockford (14-4-0-1) is currently on top of the AHL.

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The Rockford IceHogs got the 2014-15 season underway this past Saturday at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The Milwaukee Admirals cast a pall on the festivities for the 5,228 fans in attendance, besting Rockford by a score of 3-2.

With just one contest in the books, I’m putting this opening game under a bit of a microscope. Here’s how the puck bounced for the IceHogs as they threw open the doors on the new campaign.

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The IceHogs faced a three games in three days set this past weekend to wrap up week 20 of the AHL schedule. For that reason alone, it was a big weekend for Rockford as the team has the most games played in the Western Conference, so they needed to pick up as many points as possible. To add to the enormity of the weekend, all three games came against Midwest Division opponents.