IceHogs drop third straight against Admirals, fall to seventh in Central Division


On Wednesday night, the Rockford IceHogs and Milwaukee Admirals concluded a three-game mini-series in Rockford. With major playoff race implications on the line, and the IceHogs trying to avoid dropping three-straight games to the Admirals, it was Milwaukee coming out on top in a 4–2 win. Milwaukee, who began the mini-series in seventh-place in the Central Division, moved into fourth-place with their win over Rockford on Wednesday. At the same time, the IceHogs fell into seventh-place themselves after suffering their third loss in-a-row to the Admirals.

Milwaukee Admirals def. Rockford IceHogs, 4–2

The IceHogs came into Wednesday’s game, trying to shake off the memory of the 8–2 drubbing that the Admirals put on them on Saturday night prior. Anton Forsberg got the start in net for Rockford, opposite Troy Grosenick for Milwaukee.

The IceHogs came out of the gate with way more energy and pop in their game on Wednesday night than they did on either Friday or Saturday. Rockford was rewarded for their efforts just beyond the mid-way point in the first period when Jordan Schroeder netted his 19th goal of the season. In his first game back from injury, Jacob Nilsson setup Schroeder from behind the Admirals net for the 1–0 goal. Schroeder with 43 points this season is now one point away from tying his single-season career high in the AHL. The Rockford lead would only last two and a half minutes as the Admirals tied it at 1–1 with just over five minutes remaining in the period.

It would remain 1–1 into the second period until Milwaukee took the lead on a Justin Kirkland goal just over seven minutes into the middle frame. Kirkland wrapped around the IceHogs net and slammed home his eighth goal of the season to give the Admirals a 2–1 lead, which they held into the third period.

In the third period, the IceHogs regained momentum and turned a Milwaukee turnover into a game-tying goal. Rookie defenseman Chad Krys, making his professional debut, gathered a loose puck into the Admirals zone and garnered the attention of two Milwaukee defenders. With the middle of the ice open, Krys threw a no-look drop pass to Anthony Louis and he went high, stick-side to beat Grosenick for the 2–2 goal. The goal marked Krys’ first professional point and Louis’ 12th goal of the season. It was also just the second goal scored for Louis since January 12, and just his sixth point since that same date. Louis had 25 points in the first 39 games of the season.

Rockford IceHogs Anthony Louis

Rockford IceHogs forward Anthony Louis celebrates a goal against the Milwaukee Admirals. (Courtesy: Rockford IceHogs)

Unfortunately for the IceHogs again, their momentum swing would be short-lived as the Admirals re-took the lead on an Austin Watson tip goal just three minutes later. After having killed-off a five-on-three Milwaukee powerplay, the IceHogs fell victim to a bad-luck bounce off of Forsberg and Watson was there to bang in the loose puck. Watson, playing on a conditioning loan, scored his first AHL goal since October 2016 and followed it up later in the period with an empty-net tally to seal the 4–2 win for Milwaukee.

Anton Forsberg made 33 saves on 36 shots in the loss, which was his fourth loss in his last six starts. Forsberg’s record falls to 14–13–2 on the season with a 2.58 GAA and a 0.922 save percentage. Rockford was able to kill all four Milwaukee powerplays, but came up empty on three powerplay chances themselves. Rockford holds the league-worst powerplay with a 14.4 percent success-rate, while having the AHL’s 11th ranked penalty-kill with a 82.3 percent kill-rate.

Calder Cup Playoff Race

Although the IceHogs fell in regulation to the Admirals, as well as the Stars topping the Moose in regulation, it remains just a one-point difference between the four teams in the AHL Central Division in the fourth through seventh spots.

  1. Chicago Wolves (67 GP) – 40–19–8 – 88 pts
  2. Grand Rapids Griffins (57 GP) – 38–19–10 – 86 pts
  3. Iowa Wild (68 GP) – 34–22–12 – 80 pts
  4. Milwaukee Admirals (68 GP) – 29–24–15 – 73 pts
  5. Texas Stars (69 GP) – 33–29–7 – 73 pts
  6. Manitoba Moose (67 GP) – 33–28–6 – 72 pts
  7. Rockford IceHogs (68 GP) – 31–27–10 – 72 pts
  8. San Antonio Rampage (68 GP) – 27–34–7 – 61 pts

The IceHogs hold games in hand currently over the Stars, with all eight of their final games coming against Central Division opponents to close the season.

Roster Moves

Following the loss on Wednesday, the IceHogs made a trio of moves that will benefit their ECHL affiliate Indy Fuel. Defensemen Josh McArdle and Dmitry Osipov, along with forward Spencer Watson were all sent down to the ECHL

Rockford IceHogs Josh McArdle

Rockford IceHogs forward Josh McArdle celebrates a goal against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. (Courtesy: Rockford IceHogs)

McArdle, having the most experience of the three in the AHL this season, has played in 19 games for the IceHogs with a goal and two assists.

Osipov, who joined the team two weeks ago, played in four games with one assist.

Watson has played in 10 games for the IceHogs, scoring one goal and two assists of his own.

All three will join the Fuel as they push for the Kelly Cup Playoffs, sitting in fifth-place in the ECHL Central Division with 68 points, four behind the Kalamazoo Wings.

What’s Next?

The Rockford IceHogs are back in action this weekend as they continue their current homestand. On Saturday, the IceHogs host the Grand Rapids Griffins for a 6 p.m. CT puck drop at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Rockford holds a 6–3–0 record this season over the Griffins.

Following Saturday night’s game, the IceHogs turn around and host the Chicago Wolves for the final time this season. Puck drop on Sunday is set for 4pm CT at the BMO Harris Bank Center as this season’s edition of the Illinois Lottery Cup Rivalry comes to a close. The IceHogs lead the season series over the Wolves with a 6–4–1 record.

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