In what is turning out to be quite the eventful weekend, the Rockford IceHogs look to get back on track with back-to-back home games this weekend. After a forgettable game against the Manitoba Moose on Tuesday, the IceHogs take on Central Division rival Chicago Wolves on Friday night before hosting the Texas Stars on Saturday night.
IceHogs Need Statement Win
On Tuesday night, the IceHogs hosted the red-hot Manitoba Moose and to sum up the game in a few words: it happened. The Moose came into the game winners of their last six in a row and nine of their last ten and it showed. Manitoba jumped all over the IceHogs early and often, getting an 8-1 win with Rockford’s lone goal coming from Anthony Louis.
Well wishes go out to Jeff Glass, who was in net for all eight Manitoba goals, though the blame for a number of them was not squarely on him. The IceHogs continuously had chances to match the Moose, but didn’t have the finishing ability on the night. Wipe the hands clean and move on.
Friday night sees the Illinois Lottery Cup rivalry write a new chapter as the Wolves come into Rockford for the third matchup between the teams this season. The season-series is split 1-1 after the IceHogs and Wolves traded 4-3 victories in games one and two.
Chicago sits at the bottom of the AHL Central Division with 14 points in the standings and just one win, against Rockford, in their last ten games (1-6-3). Chicago’s special teams don’t tell the story of a team struggling as their power-play ranks 21st in the AHL (15.4%) and their penalty-kill ranks 11th (84.3%). Both ranking higher than the IceHogs, 28th on the powerplay (13.1%) and 26th on the penalty-kill (78.9%). If the IceHogs can get over their slump, the Wolves are the team to do it against, especially at home where the IceHogs are 7-5-1 this season, 3-1-1 in their last five games.
Rockford will have a quick turnaround after Friday night as they welcome the Texas Stars for a Saturday night matchup. The Stars are currently second in the AHL Pacific Division, and will becoming off of their own Friday night game, a road contest against the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Saturday’s game will be the first of four games against the Stars, who the IceHogs won’t see again until Feb. 28, 2018. The Stars come into the game on Saturday with the AHL’s 24th ranked powerplay at 14.6% and a penalty-kill rate of 79.2%, also ranking 24th in the league.
Texas has been on a hot streak as of late, winning seven of their last ten games and four in-a-row heading into the Friday night matchup against the Griffins. The IceHogs will need to be mindful of the Travis Morin–Curtis McKenzie connection that the Stars ice, with Morin leading Texas in points with 22 (4G, 18A) and McKenzie leading in goals with 11 on the season.
Jordin Tootoo Assigned To IceHogs
On Thursday, the Chicago Blackhawks assigned Jordin Tootoo to the Rockford IceHogs after Tootoo cleared NHL waivers. Tootoo has yet to see the ice this season, spending time on Long-Term Injured Reserve since Oct. 4 with an upper-body injury. Tootoo is expected to be in the lineup for the IceHogs immediately after playing 50 games for the Blackhawks last season.
In his career, Tootoo has played in 723 NHL games with 161 points and 151 AHL games with 67 points. His last AHL stint was during the 2013-14 season with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Off The Ice
Aside from the action on the ice this weekend, the IceHogs have an eventful off the ice schedule planned for Friday and Saturday at the BMO Harris Bank Center. On Friday night, three-time Stanley Cup Champion Marian Hossa will be in the house for a meet and greet with fans. The first 2,500 fans in attendance on Friday will receive a free Hossa poster. A number of fans will also randomly receive a certificate with their poster, which will grant them an opportunity to meet Hossa and receive an autograph. Hossa tribute videos and a ceremonial puck drop are also in the works for Friday’s game.
Following up on Saturday, the IceHogs have their annual Teddy Toss benefiting Rockford-area hospitals and children’s charities. Fans are invited to bring new or gently-used teddy bears or stuffed animals to the game to toss on the ice after the IceHogs score their first goal of the game. Last season, the IceHogs collected and donated a total of 3,491 teddy bears last season.
Friday’s game is slated for a 7pm CT puck drop and Saturday’s game has a 6pm CT puck drop.
Center Ice › Forums › Preview: Rockford IceHogs Look For Bounce Back Weekend
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