RECAP: IceHogs win over Grand Rapids 5–1 in Game 2, fall 4–3 in Game 3


After losing in heartbreaking fashion, the Rockford IceHogs responded in a big way against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday night. After going down 1–0 early, the Hogs responded with five unanswered goals to secure the victory and guarantee themselves another home game.

Here were the lines in Game 2:

The biggest change from Game 1 to Game 2 was Drew Commesso getting the start over Jaxson Stauber. The IceHogs had alternated goalies during the regular season and continued to do in the playoffs.

First period

Grand Rapids got on the board early with a goal to lead 1–0. Commesso made a pad save that kicked out to Austin Czarnik, who went five hole for the games first goal. The Hogs tied the game on blast from AHL all star Ethan Del Mastro.

With less than a minute remaining in the first, Grand Rapids’ Dominik Shine was called for tripping leading to the IceHogs’ first power play. On the power play, Mike Hardman blasted a shot past Sebastian Cossa for the goal.

The first period ended with the score 2–1 in favor of Rockford.

Second period

In the second period, Michael Teply got the IceHogs on the board early.

The second period ended with the score 3–1 in favor of Rockford.

Third period

In the third period, the IceHogs put the game out of reach, as Hardman found the back of the net again making the score 4–1.

Luke Philp potted a slap shot for the final goal of the game, as Rockford won 5–1.


The Hogs were dominating on offense and a stellar performance in net and give them another home game on Sunday. The three stars of the game were Hardman with two goals and one assist, Commesso with 27 of 28 saves and Philp with one goal and one assist. Teply has been on fire with five goals in his last four games.

This game was also a lot of firsts for the IceHogs. These were the first AHL playoff goals for Hardman and Del Mastro. It was the first time scoring five goals in a playoff game and their first win in playoff game since 2018.

In the broader sense of the Blackhawks’ organization, this game gave big-game experience to both Commesso and Del Mastro. Both guys were pivotal in the IceHogs’ victory and will be huge for the IceHogs going forward.

Game 3

In the pivotal Game 3, the IceHogs fell behind early in the third and rallied late to force overtime. The IceHogs ultimately fell 4–3 in overtime.

First period

The first period was scoreless for both teams. Commesso fended off 19 shots while the Hogs were only able to must seven of their own. Commesso’s 19 saves in the first period set an AHL record.

Second period

In the second period, the Griffins jumped out to the early 1–0 lead. The goal was scored by Marco Kasper, who netted Shine’s assist.

The IceHogs answered very late in the second period. Rem Pitlick tied the game up with less than 30 seconds to go in the frame.

Third period

At the start of the third period, Czarnik snuck a puck past Commesso glove side for the 2–1 Grand Rapids lead. Elmer Soderblom increased the Griffins’ lead to 3–1 with a goal of his own.

Rockford’s Zach Sanford wired a wrist shot past Cossa for the Hogs’ second goal of the game to make the score 3–2. The equalizer was scored by Jackson Cates. The AHL veteran scored with 2:39 left in regulation.

Sadly, the Hogs fell in overtime, as Jonatan Berggren potted the game winner.


Commesso continued to get valuable playoff experience in his first season as a professional. The young netminder might be ready to get some NHL playing time next season. Del Mastro, Wyatt Kaiser and Nolan Allan also continue to get valuable playoff experience. As Alex Vlasic has shown the Blackhawks, it might take a full season at Rockford before a young defenseman makes the jump to being an NHL regular.

It is do or die for the IceHogs in Game 4 at home at 4 p.m. CDT on Sunday.

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