Weeks, Seney impress in sweep of Grand Rapids


Weekly results

Friday, Jan. 12 — Rockford 2, Grand Rapids 0

Rockford goaltender Mitchell Weeks continued his excellent start to the season, stopping all 22 shots in a 2–0 victory for the visiting Rockford IceHogs. With his first career AHL shutout, Weeks is off to a 3–0–0 start and a .923 save percentage on the early season. The undrafted 22-year-old has been a pleasant surprise in Rockford.

In one of the most lopsided AHL periods one will watch, Rockford outshot the Griffins 22–4 in the first frame of action but could not find the back of the net behind Sebastian Cossa. Cossa stood on his head as the defense in front of him took the form of Swiss cheese and took three minor penalties.

Ironically enough, at the 20-second mark of the second period, Rockford forward Mike Hardman beat Cossa for the first of the game and eighth of the season. The goal, assisted by Dave Gust, put Rockford ahead and would be all Weeks would need. Hardman did an excellent job on the forecheck, forcing the Griffins to turn over the puck, and was rewarded with the goal.

Rockford’s second goal came with an empty net at the 18:48 mark of the third period when forward Brett Seney scored his ninth of the season. Cossa played an excellent game in net for the Griffins, surrendering only the goal to Hardman while stopping 33 IceHog shots on the night.

Saturday, Jan. 13 — Rockford 3, Grand Rapids 2 (overtime)

Rockford ran it back the following night with an excellent game to take the back end of the two-game series. In a close, tight-knit affair, the IceHogs finished off the Griffins in style with a 3–2 victory in overtime.

In the first period of action, defenseman Austin Strand scored his second goal of the season after Griffins goaltender Michael Hutchinson gave up a rebound that found the stick of forward Michal Teply in front and fed a streaking Strand for the goal.

Grand Rapids would score the only goal of the second period when right winger Dominik Shine buried a shot behind Rockford goaltender Drew Commesso.

With the score tied 1–1 after two periods, Grand Rapids would take their only lead of the weekend after forward Tim Gettinger scored on the power play. Rockford would not waste any time tying the game a few minutes later when Seney scored his second of the weekend to tie the game at 2–2 with less than five minutes left in regulation. The end-to-end rush by Jalen Luypen was a thing of beauty before finding Seney racing toward the net.

In overtime, veteran Anders Bjork buried the game winner after a nice puck possession play by Gust and finding a wide-open Bjork for the game winner and the 10th of the season.

Commesso stopped 22 shots in the his seventh victory this season. The rookie stands with an .894 save percentage this season with a 7–8–2–1 record.

High on the Hog

— Defenseman Ethan Del Mastro was selected to participate in the 2024 AHL All-Star Classic in San Jose on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5. The fourth-round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft leads all Rockford defensemen in goals and points and has been a whale of a difficult player to play against in his own zone using his 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame to his advantage.

— Mitchell Weeks recorded his first career AHL shutout on Friday night and is off to an unexpected hot start in net. The recent call-up from the Indy Fuel has been a nice addition to a Rockford three-headed tandem in net alongside Drew Commesso and Jaxson Stauber.

— Brett Seney scored twice this weekend, albeit one was an empty-net goal, but has reached double digits in goals for the fourth time in his AHL career. The undersized forward is a sneaky playmaker who has a decent scoring touch that will be needed as Rockford pushes through the dog days of winter toward a playoff birth.

Upcoming week

After playing five of the past six games on the road, the 15–14–3–1 IceHogs will play host to their Interstate 90 rivals, as the Chicago Wolves come to BMO Center on Friday for a 7 p.m. CST puck drop. On Saturday, the Iowa Wild come skating into Rockford for another 7 p.m. CST start.

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