IceHogs Tuesday: Back on Track—Sort Of

This American has three goals in his last three games. (Photo Credit: Kim Wrona)

Week 14 brought on three games in four nights for the IceHogs. If that wasn’t tough enough, all of the games were against Midwest Division opponents, two of them being the division leading Griffins.

Wednesday, January 9 vs. Grand RapidsIf the IceHogs wanted to get back into the thick of things in their quest for the Midwest Division lead, they were going to have to beat the best:  Grand Rapids. Unfortunately, that plan was put on hold for this contest. Grand Rapids got out to the early lead as Brent Raedeke put home a pass from behind the net and beat IceHogs netminder Carter Hutton. 42 seconds after the goal, Peter LeBlanc took a hooking penalty, which gave Grand Rapids its first power play of the night. And they took advantage of it. 9 seconds into the power play, Riley Sheahan scored his 10th goal of the season to make it 2-0 Griffins. Rookie forward Brandon Saad was injured late in the first period as he fell down and went awkwardly into the boards face first. He originally went back to the bench, and it looked like it could possibly be an arm or shoulder injury. At the next whistle, he went back to the locker room. That next whistle was a big one for Rockford as Jeremy Morin cut the Grand Rapids lead to one with a shot from the left circle after a nice pass by captain Martin St. Pierre. The goal was Morin’s 11th on the 2012-13 campaign.

The IceHogs faithful was able to breathe a sigh of relief at the beginning of the second period as Saad came out with the rest of the team. He didn’t miss a shift during the second either as he was thrown right back into the fire and was killing penalties, like normal. Rockford cashed in on the power play at 7:52 of the second period to tie the game up at two. Ben Smith parked himself out in front of Griffins goalie Petr Mrazek and was able to deflect in a Brett Lebda shot from the point for his team leading 15th goal of the season. Sheahan grabbed his second goal of the game at the 18:54 mark after Lebda blew a tire in the right circle and Gustav Nyquist got around him and dished to Sheahan who was driving to the front of the net. Sheahan got his stick on it and went five-hole on Hutton to make it 3-2 Griffins.

Tomas Tatar extended the Grand Rapids lead to two goals at 5:44 of the third period with a wrap-around shot for his 14th tally of the season. Less than a minute later, Grand Rapids opened it up to 5-2 as left winger Jeff Hoggan scored his fifth goal of the year from the same spot as Tatar, minus the wrap-around shot. Landon Ferarro made it 6-2 Griffins at 9:54 with a power play goal that went blocker side on Hutton. Things got interesting away from the scoreboard as Triston Grant tackled Wade Brookbank at 12:46. Grant got 2 minutes for roughing and Brookbank was given 2 minutes for charging. Morin was also given a ten minute misconduct at this time for “abuse of officials.” At 15:54, Hogs forward Peter LeBlanc let a shot from the left circle go for his third goal of the season to make it 6-3. But in the grand scheme of things, that was overshadowed by the continuing antics of Brookbank and Grant. With 37 seconds remaining in the game, they were yapping at each other, then Grant speared Brookbank. Brookbank had enough of that and dropped the gloves with him. As he was leaving the ice, Brookbank did a little version of the chicken dance, much to the delight of the fans at the BMO Harris Bank Center. That still didn’t fix the outcome and that would be a huge IceHogs loss in a very important game.

-Grand Rapids outshot Rockford 34-30.

-There were way too many penalties in this game for both teams. The IceHogs went 1-for-8 on the power play and the Griffins went 2-for-9 on their man advantages.

-Brandon Saad, Ben Smith, and Ben Youds all fired four shots on net for Rockford.

-Some of the power play units that the IceHogs used were:

Ben Smith – Martin St. Pierre – Jeremy Morin

Brett Lebda – Adam Clendening

Brandon Saad – Brandon Pirri – Jimmy Hayes

Peter LeBlanc – Ben Youds

-Some of the penalty killers the IceHogs used were:  Brandon Saad, Ben Smith, Klas Dahlbeck, and Ryan Stanton; Martin St. Pierre, Philippe Paradis, Ryan Stanton, and Klas Dahlbeck; Peter LeBlanc, Philippe Paradis, Ryan Stanton, and Ben Youds; Martin St. Pierre, Brandon Saad, Ryan Stanton, and Klas Dahlbeck.

-The three stars were:  1 — Gustav Nyquist 2 — Riley Sheahan 3 — Chad Billins

-The scratches were:  Joe Lavin, Byron Froese (both injured), Kyle Beach (abdominal), Brandon Svendsen (groin), and Shawn Lalonde (healthy).

-The lines and D pairs were:

Brandon Saad – Brandon Pirri – Jimmy Hayes

Ben Smith – Martin St. Pierre – Jeremy Morin

Terry Broadhurst – Peter LeBlanc – Philippe Paradis

Wade Brookbank – Rob Flick – David Gilbert

Ryan Stanton – Adam Clendening

Brett Lebda – Dylan Olsen

Klas Dahlbeck – Ben Youds

Friday, January 11 vs. Grand RapidsIt looked like it was going to be another long night for the IceHogs on Friday as Grand Rapids picked up right where they left off on Wednesday. 27 seconds into the game, Gustav Nyquist’s shot from the right circle got by IceHogs netminder Carter Hutton to give the visitors the early lead. The IceHogs had a huge opportunity to take the lead and then some at the 9:02 mark of the first period. Ryan Stanton was boarded by Trevor Parkes and Parkes was given a five minute major and a game misconduct. Rockford let that five minute power play essentially go to waste as they weren’t able to convert during any of that time. The Hogs didn’t let their next chance slip away though. At 18:02 of the first period, Jimmy Hayes was able to whack home a loose puck in the crease for his 7th goal of the season to tie the game up at one.

The second period was relatively quiet until the unthinkable happened:  Ben Smith fought Brennan Evans as a scrum broke out in the Grand Rapids crease at 16:14. The 5-foot-11, 200 pound Smith didn’t really get any solid punches in on the 6-foot-4, 230 pound Evans, who easily took the W in that fight.

The third period started off with a bang as Jeremy Morin stuffed home a Brandon Pirri attempt as Griffins goalie Petr Mrazek was hugging the left post with his skate for his 12th goal of the season to give the Hogs their first lead of the night. The lead was short lived as Tomas Tatar tied the game at 5:33 with his 15th tally of the year. Brandon Saad gave Rockford the lead back once and for all at the 11:42 mark of the third period. He drove to the front of the net and tapped in a Smith feed from the right circle for his 7th goal on the 2012-13 campaign to make it 3-2 Hogs. An unlikely source gave Rockford a cushion at 14:41. Philippe Paradis tallied his first goal of the year as he put one home from Mrazek’s left side. Hayes struck again on the power play at 16:58 as he slammed home a Dylan Olsen rebound to make it 5-2 Rockford. And that’s what the final looked like at the BMO Harris Bank Center as the IceHogs pulled off a victory in a must win game.

-Rockford outshot Grand Rapids 33-22.

-The IceHogs went 2-for-5 on the power play and killed off all five of the Griffins’ man advantages.

-Brandon Saad and Martin St. Pierre led Rockford with 5 shots on goal.

-Brandon Saad was named first star of the game as he put together a four point performance on home ice (1 G, 3 A). Jimmy Hayes was second star and Ben Smith was third star.

-Jimmy Hayes tallied his 20th professional goal with his second tally of the night.

-The power play units that the IceHogs used were:

Ben Smith – Martin St. Pierre – Jeremy Morin

Peter LeBlanc – Adam Clendening

Brandon Saad – Brandon Pirri – Jimmy Hayes

Dylan Olsen – Shawn Lalonde

-Some of the penalty killers that the IceHogs used were:  Ben Smith, Brandon Saad, Ben Youds, and Klas Dahlbeck; Jeremy Morin, Martin St. Pierre, Dylan Olsen, and Shawn Lalonde; Jimmy Hayes, Philippe Paradis, Ryan Stanton, and Adam Clendening; Ben Smith, Brandon Saad, Ryan Stanton, and Klas Dahlbeck.

-The scratches were:  Joe Lavin, Byron Froese (both injured), Kyle Beach (abdominal), Brett Lebda and David Gilbert (healthy).

-The lines and D pairs were:

Philippe Paradis – Brandon Pirri – Peter LeBlanc

Brandon Saad – Martin St. Pierre – Ben Smith

Terry Broadhurst – Jimmy Hayes – Jeremy Morin

Wade Brookbank – Rob Flick – Brandon Svendsen

Ryan Stanton – Adam Clendening

Klas Dahlbeck – Ben Youds

Dylan Olsen – Shawn Lalonde

Saturday, January 12 at Milwaukee The IceHogs found themselves in Milwaukee the following night to take on the Admirals in another Midwest Division showdown. The IceHogs were in a load of penalty trouble early and often in this contest, but they somehow managed to still get shorthanded chances. In the first period, Jeremy Morin set up Peter LeBlanc on a breakaway, but Admirals goalie Magnus Hellberg was able to make the save. During the second period, LeBlanc and Jimmy Hayes had a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush going. LeBlanc sent a pass over to Hayes in the left circle, but he shot it wide of the net. One of Rockford’s best chances to break the ice first came at the 4:38 mark of the second period when Brandon Pirri was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked on a chance out in front. He wasn’t really on a breakaway, so the call never should have been a penalty shot, but whatever… Pirri didn’t convert anyway as he tried to go glove side on Hellberg but completely missed the net.

The home squad was the first one to crack the scoreboard at the 14:12 mark of the third period. Joonas Jarvinen shot a bouncing puck from the slot and it went five-hole on IceHogs netminder Carter Hutton. With the way things had been going all night for Rockford, it seemed like a comeback was unlikely, but Morin wouldn’t have any of that. He tied the game with a shot from just under the left circle on a feed from Adam Clendening for his 13th goal on the 2012-13 campaign.  The game went into overtime deadlocked at one, and Brandon Saad became the hero for Rockford with a great individual effort to win the game at the 52 second mark. Saad danced into the offensive zone, somehow got around the defense, hung onto it, shot it, got the rebound and got it by Hellberg’s left side. The goal was absolutely gorgeous. Take a look. It was also a 3-on-3 goal as Kyle Beach and Jarvinen were in the box for roughing. The goal was Saad’s 8th of the year and his 6th in two games.

-Rockford outshot Milwaukee 34-25.

-The IceHogs went 0-for-3 on the man advantage and the Ads went 0-for-8 on their power plays.

-Ryan Stanton and Brandon Saad each fired five shots on net for Rockford.

-An oddity happened during the first period:  Defenseman Shawn Lalonde took a face-off while the IceHogs were on the penalty kill. I’m giving him the win on the draw, too. While it was essentially a tie, Jeremy Morin gained control of the puck and cleared it out of the zone, so that’s why I’m giving the W to Lalonde.

-The three stars were:  1 – Carter Hutton 2 – Magnus Hellberg 3 – Brandon Saad

-Some of the penalty killers that the IceHogs used were:  Philippe Paradis, Martin St. Pierre, Shawn Lalonde, and Dylan Olsen; Jeremy Morin, Peter LeBlanc, Dylan Olsen, and Shawn Lalonde; Jimmy Hayes, Brandon Saad, Ryan Stanton, and Adam Clendening; Philippe Paradis, Martin St. Pierre, Klas Dahlbeck, and Ben Youds.

-The scratches were:  Joe Lavin, Byron Froese (both injured), Ben Smith (he hurt his hand in the fight against Brennan Evans the night before), Brett Lebda, and David Gilbert (healthy).

-The lines and D pairs were:

Philippe Paradis – Brandon Pirri – Peter LeBlanc

Brandon Saad – Martin St. Pierre – Kyle Beach

Terry Broadhurst – Jimmy Hayes – Jeremy Morin

Wade Brookbank – Rob Flick – Brandon Svendsen

Ryan Stanton – Adam Clendening

Klas Dahlbeck – Ben Youds

Dylan Olsen – Shawn Lalonde

Roster Notes

-Sunday, January 13 – With the lockout over, the Blackhawks recalled forwards Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger, Brandon Bollig, Brandon Pirri, Brandon Saad, and defensemen Nick Leddy and Ryan Stanton from the IceHogs. Read more about these call-ups in my ROD post from the other day.

-Monday, January 14 – The Blackhawks recalled forward Jimmy Hayes from the IceHogs.

-Tuesday, January 15 — Goalie Carter Hutton was put on waivers for the purpose of reassigning him to the AHL. This is just a bookkeeping formality due to the end of the lockout.

Tidbits

-IceHogs forward Brandon Saad was named the AHL’s Player of the Week for week 14. Saad had the game winning goals in both IceHogs victories, along with six points in three games.

-Check out IceHogs forward Jeremy Morin’s interview from the Stone and Double T show this morning.

-The IceHogs currently sit in third (technically tied with Milwaukee for second, but the Ads have a game in-hand) in the Midwest Division with a record of 19-17-1-1 (40 points). They are six points behind division leading Grand Rapids. In the Western Conference, the IceHogs are 11th, but tied with Milwaukee for 10th place. They are one point out of a playoff position. **Before Tuesday’s games had gone final.

-IceHogs forward Kyle Beach turned 23 on Sunday and defenseman Brett Lebda turns 31 today! Happy birthday, boys!

-Check out this interview with defenseman Ryan Stanton from Blackhawks training camp.

Upcoming Games

Friday, January 18 vs. Peoria at 7:05 p.m.

Saturday, January 19 vs. Grand Rapids at 7:05 p.m.

Monday, January 21 vs. Texas at 1:05 p.m.

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