Over the weekend, the Rockford IceHogs completed a six-game road trip with a 4-3 win over the Cleveland Monsters on Friday and a 4-3 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday. Over the road trip, the IceHogs were able to take away points in five of the six games with a 3-1-2 record and hold onto third place in the AHL Central Division as of Monday.
IceHogs Play Well Enough On Six-Game Road Trip
Heading into the weekend, the IceHogs held a six-game point streak that began on January 6. Thanks to a pair of two-point nights from John Hayden and Matthew Highmore, Rockford was able to score four-straight goals on the Monsters Friday night to take a 4-2 lead late into the third period before holding on for the 4-3 win. The win extended the IceHogs’ point streak to seven games with a 4-0-3 record over that span.
The streak would come to an end the next night though, as the IceHogs would fall to the Grand Rapids Griffins on the final night of the six-game road stretch. Hayden was able to continue his three-game point streak with the game’s opening goal just 1:22 into the period. But the IceHogs would face a 2-1 deficit heading into the third period before Tanner Kero tied the game at 2-2. Kero started his stint with the IceHogs slowly, just one point in his first seven games after joining the team, but has come on as of late with 11 points over his last 12 games. Kero’s tying goal wouldn’t be enough though as the Griffins were able to do enough to stop the IceHog’s point-streak.
Matt Tomkins started both games for Rockford, earning his first AHL win on Friday with 32 saves on 35 shots against the Monsters. On the season, Tomkins holds a 1-2-2 record with a 3.91 GAA and a .880 save percentage.
Keeping Pace In The Central Division
While nothing is won in January, the IceHogs are putting themselves in the right spots as the mid-season grind continues through the winter. Of course having a seven-game point streak never hurts. Heading into Monday’s action, Rockford sits in a tie for third-place in the AHL Central Division with a 22-16-5 record, 49 points in the standings, and a .570 point-percentage through 43 games. Rockford is tied with the Chicago Wolves for third-place and trails the Iowa Wild for second-place in the Central Division based on point-percentage.
While the Manitoba Moose are the Central Division leaders by a wide margin, the difference between second and sixth place is three points and .037 point-percentage points. Again, nothing is won or lost in January, but the IceHogs are in a position now where every point in the standings can make a difference.
Catching Up With The IceHogs
Head Coach Jeremy Colliton:
AHL All-Star Carl Dahlstrom:
AHL All-Star Matthew Highmore:
What’s Next? IceHogs Prepare For Return To Rockford
The IceHogs welcomed Gustav Forsling on Monday afternoon after the Chicago Blackhawks assigned the 21-year old Swedish defenseman. In 41 games for Chicago this season, Forsling has 13 points (3G, 10A) and a minus-2 rating with eight penalty minutes. Forsling played 30 games for Rockford last season and while there is no immediate timetable for his current stint with the IceHogs, the team plans to use him in all situations and give him quality ice-time that he was missing with the Blackhawks, much like they are with Kero and Hayden.
Forsling’s first game comes on Tuesday night as the IceHogs return to home ice in Rockford to take on the Bakersfield Condors. Sitting in last place in the AHL Pacific Division, the Condors hold a 3-2 overtime victory over the IceHogs earlier this on month when Rockford was on a three-game California trip just a week ago. Rockford needs to be able to take more than one point away from Tuesday night’s game if they are to continue staying in the hunt in the Central Division and the Western Conference as Spring rolls around.
Puck drop for Tuesday’s game is set for 7:00 pm CT at the BMO Harris Bank Center.