Players To Watch: Rockford IceHogs vs Chicago Wolves


The Rockford IceHogs and Chicago Wolves take their Illinois Lottery Cup rivalry to the postseason on Saturday night as Game One of the Calder Cup Playoffs begin in Rosemont. Ahead of the 7pm puck drop at the Allstate Arena, there area few players worth keeping an eye on for the IceHogs that could be key players in helping Rockford get their first series win over the Wolves in thier second ever meeting in the AHL postseason.

Players To Watch For The Rockford IceHogs

  • Anthony Louis, LW, 44 points (14G, 30A)
    • IceHogs points leader for the 2017-18 season
    • Rookie points leader
    • Tied for team-lead in assists for 2017-18 season
    • The Winfield, IL native had a breakout season in 2017-18, his first full year with Rockford. Louis uses his speed and on-ice vision to create offensive chances and has seen regular minutes on the IceHogs’ top lines after Vince Hinostroza made the permanent jump to the Chicago Blackhawks in November. With four goals and four assists in ten games against the Wolves, Louis is tied with Rockford defenseman Carl Dahlstrom for the most points against Chicago this year.
Rockford IceHogs Anthony Louis

Anthony Louis shoots on net against the Milwaukee Admirals. (Courtesy: Todd Reicher)

  • Adam Clendening, D, 35 points (5G, 30A)
    • Acquired by the Chicago Blackhawks organization in January
    • Finished 5th on the team in scoring for the year, 30 of 35 points coming with the IceHogs
    • Set Rockford AHL franchise all-time records for assists (122) and points (148) by a defenseman in 2017-18 season.
    • Clendening made his return to the IceHogs count after being acquired via trade by the Blackhawks in January. In 38 games with Rockford, he totaled 30 of his 35 points on the season and was one of the driving factors for the IceHogs down the stretch of the season. Over the last 15 games of the season, Clendening notched 12 points (2G, 10A)
Adam Clendening

Adam Clendening takes a shot. (Courtesy: Todd Reicher)

  • Matthew Highmore, LW/C, 43 points (24G, 19A)
    • Second on team in points this season, one behind Anthony Louis
    • Second behind Louis in Rookie scoring this season.
    • Set Rockford AHL franchise record for goals by a rookie (24) this year.
    • Highmore made a huge first impression on the IceHogs in his rookie year. If he had not made his NHL debut this season with the Blackhawks, Highmore would have led the team in goals and points, the way he was producing. A great finisher, Highmore’s scoring touch isn’t his only upside as he is used by head coach Jeremy Colliton in all situations. Playing Center and on the Wing, Highmore can be counted on as a power-play producer as well as a penalty-killer and regularly has Rockford’s offense run through him.
Matthew Highmore Rockford IceHogs

Matthew Highmore of the Rockford IceHogs. (Courtesy: Greg Hamil)

  • Chris DiDomenico, C, 38 points (14G, 24A)
    • Acquired by the Chicago Blackhawks organization in February
    • Finished 4th on the team in scoring for the year, 23 of 38 points coming with the IceHogs
    • Highest point per game total (1.05) on the roster this year of players playing more than 20 games.
    • DiDomenico was a late-season acquisition for Rockford, coming in February in a trade that saw Ville Pokka head to the Ottawa Senators in exchange. Since his arrival with the IceHogs, DiDomenico has been possibly the biggest offensive factor for the team in their playoff push. On numerous occasions, DiDomenico has received praise from head coach Jeremy Colliton as a player that brings a “swagger” to the team in the way he plays and handles himself on the ice. Look for him to not only be a problem for the Wolves on the stat-sheet, but also between the whistles.
Chris DiDomenico

Chris DiDomenico celebrates a goal against the Chicago Wolves. (Courtesy: Todd Reicher)

  • Jeff Glass, G, 15-9-2 (2.82 GAA, .904 save pct.)
    • Tied with Collin Delia in most appearances in net for Rockford (28)
    • Second on the team in wins this season
    • Best record (5-2-0), GAA (2.51), and save pct. (.915) against the Wolves this season
    • While Collin Delia is the hottest goalie on the IceHogs’ roster heading into the playoffs, Glass is far and wide the most experienced. Having played in the postseason in the ECHL and four times in the KHL, Glass has the ability to lead a locker room that is well-mixed with veterans and first-year pros, in-between the pipes. He has the most games played against the Wolves this season and back-stopped five of Rockford’s six wins against Chicago this season.
Rockford IceHogs

Jeff Glass makes a save against the Chicago Wolves. (Courtesy: Todd Reicher)

  • Collin Delia, G, 17-7-4 (2.72 GAA, .900 save pct.)
    • Tied with Jeff Glass for most appearances in net for Rockford (28)
    • Most wins this season by a goalie
    • 11-3-3 since the beginning of February, 7-1-2 in last ten games
    • Delia began the season with the Indy Fuel of the ECHL and notched just one win in either the AHL or ECHL before December 28th. As the calendar turned to 2018, Delia found his stride and went n impressive 16-5-4 for the IceHogs since January 2. Down the stretch of the season, Delia turned out points in 12 of his last 13 appearances. While his GAA and save pct. leave something to be desired, Delia’s development as the year progressed has given the team a ton of confidence when he is in net. Head coach Jeremy Colliton still is noncommittal on his strategy in net for Rockford, but it would be surprising to see Delia not get the first chance at being the starter against the Wolves, given recent play.
Collin Delia

Collin Delia makes a save against the Chicago Wolves. (Courtesy: Todd Reicher)

While there are a few more notable players to keep an eye on for Rockford (i.e. Lance Bouma, John Hayden, Tyler Sikura, and Cody Franson) these players have had some of the biggest impacts for the IceHogs this season and down the stretch to get the team to this point.

What’s Next?

Game One of the opening round series between the Wolves and IceHogs begins in Rosemont on Saturday night. Here is the full first-round schedule for Rockford and Chicago:

  • Game One – at Chicago, Saturday, April 21 – 7pm
  • Game Two – at Rockford, Sunday, April 22 – 4pm
  • Game Three – at Chicago, Thursday, April 26 – 7pm
  • Game Four * – at Rockford, Sunday, April 29 – 4pm (if necessary)
  • Game Five * – at Chicago, Monday, April 30 – 7pm (if necessary)

Winner of the Rockford-Chicago series will go on to face the winner of the Manitoba Moose-Grand Rapids Griffins series in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.

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