The Rockford IceHogs are currently on the outside looking in at the Calder Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference. Sitting in seventh-place with just six games remaining, the IceHogs have an uphill battle ahead of them if they are to overtake the three teams ahead of them and move into the top four spots of the Central Division. If you are just joining us on this journey, here are some facts and figures that will give a glimpse of what the IceHogs are as a team and what they need to do to get into the postseason.
IceHogs Numbers That Matter
74 – Points in the standings, currently, for the IceHogs heading into their final six games of the season.
A 32-28-10 record for Rockford so far this year.
3 – Point-differential between Rockford in seventh-place and the Texas Stars and Milwaukee Admirals who are tied for fourth-place in the Central Division.
*Reminder: the top four teams in each Division make the Calder Cup Playoffs. NO WILD CARDS.
168 – Goals scored by the IceHogs this season. The least in the AHL.
2.4 – Goals per game the IceHogs are averaging. Not surprisingly, also the least in the AHL.
15.2% – Powerplay percentage for the IceHogs this season, ranking 29th in the AHL.
197 – Goals allowed by the IceHogs this season. Ranks 11th in the AHL
2.81 – Goals allowed per game by the IceHogs.
82.3% – Penalty-killing percentage for Rockford this season, ranking eighth in the AHL.
254 – Times short-handed for the IceHogs this season, ranking fifth-least in the AHL.
674 – Penalty minutes for the IceHogs this season, ranking 30th in the AHL.
.925 – Collin Delia’s save-percentage this season, the best among qualified goalies in the AHL.
0 – Number of shutouts by the IceHogs, so far this season.
2 – Number of games Rockford allowed more than 5 goals, so far this season.
1 – Number of games Rockford has scored more than 5 goals, so far this season.
18 – Number of losses (Regulation/OT) by the IceHogs in games they allowed 2 or fewer goals. Out of 38 losses this season, almost half have come in games that they have held their opponent under three goals. Otherwise known as “winnable” games.
45 – Career-high in points set by Jordan Schroeder this season.
7 – Number of fights by Dennis Gilbert for the IceHogs so far this season. Gilbert’s seven fights ties Jake Dowell‘s seven fights in the 2016-17 season, and is four off the pace set by the entire IceHogs team in the 2017-18 season.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Rockford IceHogs made two roster moves that should hopefully have a major impact on their team’s offensive production. First, the team announced that the Chicago Blackhawks had reassigned Dylan Sikura to the AHL. Sikura this season has played in 33 games with the Blackhawks and has tallied eight assists.
For the IceHogs, Sikura has played in 40 games and has 30 points. He re-joins the team on a four-game point streak. Sikura has not played with Rockford since February 2.
Second announcement coming on Tuesday was that forward Matthew Highmore had been cleared to return to the lineup. Highmore, who set the IceHogs AHL franchise record for rookie goal-scoring last season, has been out of the Rockford lineup since mid-November. Highmore went down with a shoulder injury in November and underwent surgery to repair the damage.
Before the injury, Highmore had seven points through his first eight games in Rockford. Highmore is expected in the lineup Tuesday night against the San Antonio Rampage.
Johnson, who was signed by the Blackhawks in early March, skated in 187 WHL games with the Red Deer Rebels and tallied 100 points in his Junior career. Johnson served as the Rebels’ Captain this season, tallying 53 points and finishing second on the team in scoring in his final year in the WHL.
As for Hagel, who signed with the Blackhawks in late October, his final year with Red Deer was his most productive. Scoring 102 points to lead the Rebels in scoring, Hagel ranked fourth in the WHL overall. In four seasons with Red Deer, Hagel skated in 259 games and tallied 279 career points.
With the additions of Hagel, Johnson, Highmore, Sikura, and the hot-start for another rookie in Chad Krys (3 assists in 3 games), the Rockford offense may be getting more punch down the final stretch.
Calder Cup Playoff Race
Heading into their final six games of the season, the IceHogs have a tough draw as they face a three-point gap to get to the fourth-place spot in the AHL Central Division.
- x – Chicago Wolves (70 GP) – 42-20-8 – 92 pts
- Grand Rapids Griffins (70 GP) – 38-22-10 – 86 pts
- Iowa Wild (70 GP) – 34-24-12 – 80 pts
- Milwaukee Admirals (70 GP) – 31-24-15 – 77 pts
- Texas Stars (71 GP) – 35-29-7 – 77 pts
- Manitoba Moose (69 GP) – 34-28-7 – 76 pts
- Rockford IceHogs (70 GP) – 32-28-10 – 74 pts
- e – San Antonio Rampage – (70 GP) – 28-35-7 – 63 pts
x – Clinched playoff spot
e – Eliminated from playoff contention
Looking realistically at the final six games, Rockford would be well-off if they won five of those six games remaining. They are, essentially, not allowed to lose in regulation the rest of the season, given that their final six games are against Division opponents, with the final five games of the season coming against teams ahead of them in the standings.
The Rockford IceHogs come off a weekend where they took a regulation win against the Grand Rapids Griffins and a regulation loss against the Milwaukee Admirals, and face the already eliminated from playoff contention San Antonio Rampage on Tuesday night.
The game closes a five-game homestand for the IceHogs, where they went 1-3-0 through the first four games. It will also be the second to last home game of the year for the IceHogs as they will play their following four games on the road before closing the regular season at home against the Admirals on April 14. Rockford holds a 3-3-1 record against San Antonio this season. Puck drop on Tuesday night is set for 7pm CT at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford.