The Rockford IceHogs are playing solid hockey—as they continue to hold decent position in the AHL Central Division standings, despite playing fewer games than any other divisional opponent. Over the last four days, the IceHogs have been on a three-game road trip in Texas, taking on the Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage. With the exception of a shootout deciding the game against Texas, the IceHogs were even on the road trip in goals for and goals against, scoring 11 and giving up 11, taking three points out of a possible six.
IceHogs take three of six points over Texas road trip
Starting on Saturday in Cedar Park against the Stars, the IceHogs’ offense was on full display in a 7-6 loss via the shootout. The six goals was the third time this season that the IceHogs have hit the 6-goal mark or better. Highlighting the effort on Saturday was a three-point breakout game for rookie defenseman Adam Boqvist. After returning to the IceHogs from the Chicago Blackhawks, Boqvist tallied three assists against the Stars, including a helper on the game-tying goal from Brandon Hagel late in the third period. John Quenneville, Anton Wedin, Alexandre Fortin, and Tyler Sikura all added multi-point efforts along with Boqvist against the Stars. Kevin Lankinen made 29 saves on 35 shots faced, but allowed two goals in the shootout in the loss.
For a follow-up effort, Boqvist notched another multi-assist game as the IceHogs traveled to take on the San Antonio Rampage in the first of a two-game set between the teams. The Rampage took a 2-0 first period lead, forcing the IceHogs to chase the game for the final two periods of action. Mid-way through the third period, Tyler Sikura scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season to cut in to the San Antonio lead. Rockford pushed for the game-tying goal and with just three seconds to spare in regulation, Dylan Sikura tallied the equalizer and sent the game into overtime. In the extra frame, Jacob Nilsson quickly found the back of the net on a breakaway attempt to give the IceHogs the 3-2 win. Matt Tomkins made 21 saves on 23 shots faced in the overtime win, giving him a 3-1-0 record on the year with a 2.48 GAA and a .915 save percentage. Adam Boqvist had the primary assists on the Tyler Sikura goal and the game-winner from Nilsson, giving him six points through nine games played at the time. He has six points through ten games this season for the IceHogs.
After a Monday off-day, the IceHogs and Rampage went toe-to-toe again in another tightly contested affair. The teams split the first four goals of the game, scoring one each in the first and second periods. The Rampage would get the game-winning goal in the third period and the IceHogs were unable to find the same late-game magic they had two nights before. Kevin Lankinen had the start in net and made 37 saves on 40 shots faced, seeing his record move to 4-2-1 on the year with a 2.69 GAA and a .919 save percentage.
Following the road trip, the IceHogs hold a 9-8-1 record on the year with 18 games played, the fewest in the AHL Central Division, sitting in sixth-place. Based on point-percentage, the IceHogs would be in fourth-place and Central Division playoff position. Rockford was three-for-seven on the powerplay over the road trip and 10-for-15 on the penalty-kill. For the season, the IceHogs rank 26th in the AHL in powerplay percentage (11.4) and last in the league in penalty-kill percentage (74.0).
Rockford Is back in action after American Thanksgiving, playing at home on Black Friday. The contest is set for a 7 p.m. CST puck drop against the Chicago Wolves. The IceHogs have a 4-0-0 record against the Wolves this season in the Illinois Lottery Cup Rivalry series. Following Friday’s game, the IceHogs host the Grand Rapids Griffins in a 5 p.m. CST start time on Saturday. The Griffins have the advantage over the IceHogs, winning two of three games between the teams this season.