Rockford, Ill.-The Rockford IceHogs got their first up-close look at the Henderson Silver Knights during the weekend. Fans at the BMO Harris Bank Center saw both the worst and the best of a young Rockford squad on Friday and Saturday.
The IceHogs garnered a split of the two-game set, rebounding from a 5-0 defeat Friday with a 2-1 victory Saturday. In doing so, Rockford (10-9-1-1) ended a three-game homestand on a winning note. Here’s a quick recap of the weekend’s action.
Friday: Henderson 5, Rockford 0
To watch the first half of the opening period, one would have believed the Hogs to be the better team. Rockford quickly ran up a 10-1 shot advantage in the first ten minutes. Henderson was able to flip a switch midway through the first and controlled most of the remainder of the contest.
Danill Miromanov gave the Silver Knights a lead they would never relinquish at 13:09 of the first. Pavel Dorofeyev made it 2-0 early in the second stanza, but the game didn’t really get out of hand until later in that period.
The IceHogs power play lost possession in the Henderson zone, leading to a breakaway opportunity for Maxim Marushev the other way. In attempting to stop Marushev, Rockford committed an infraction that led to a successful penalty shot. The back-breaker was a Paul Cotter power-play tally in the final minute. Jermaine Loewen added the fifth Henderson goal midway through a chippy third period.
In the closing minutes, frustrations boiled over on the Rockford side. Defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk was given a ten-minute match penalty for an elbow to the head of Reid Duke.
Saturday: Rockford 2, Henderson 1
The IceHogs again opened strong and controlled the early action. Saturday, they were able to hold Henderson in check for most of the night.
The Silver Knights opened the scoring on a Jake Leschyshyn goal 18:17 into the first period. However, Rockford had a response less than a minute later. Ryan Stanton found Carson Gicewicz at the bottom of the left circle for the equalizer at the 19:00 mark.
The game stayed tied at one goal apiece until the start of the third period, which opened with 18 seconds of Rockford man advantage. The clock ran out on the power play, but as it expired, Ian Mitchell finished a two-man rush on the Silver Knights net led by MacKenzie Entwistle. The game-winner was sent behind Henderson goalie Logan Thompson 18 seconds into the period.
- The IceHogs end the weekend in third place in the Central Division standings. Chicago and Manitoba are separating themselves from the rest of the division. Rockford (22 points) is nine points behind the second-place Moose (31 points). The difference between third and seventh in the division is just three standings points.
- Cale Morris picked up the win on Saturday in his first start with Rockford this season, stopping 17 of the 18 shots he faced. Morris is with the Hogs due to Arvid Soderblom being out on concussion protocol.
- The 42 shots Rockford threw at Thompson Saturday was a season-high for the Hogs. The previous evening, Henderson outshot Rockford 33-23; the IceHogs had just 13 shots in the final 40 minutes.
- Returning for the Hogs this weekend along with Entwistle was Brett Connolly, who is second on the team in scoring (11 points) despite missing five games with a leg injury.
- Mitchell (3 G, 8 A) moved into a tie with Connolly among Rockford scorers with his goal Saturday night.
- Despite some physical action throughout the weekend, no fighting majors were handed out over the weekend. There were a couple of altercations on the ice, particularly on Saturday, but only one incident drew more than a roughing call, other than Kalynuk’s infraction.
- Marushev’s penalty shot was the first awarded in Henderson franchise history.
- IceHogs defenseman Alec Regula sat out the weekend. Alexander Nylander was not in the lineup for Saturday’s game. Rockford recalled forward Riley McKay from Indy on Saturday and he skated in Saturday’s game.
- On Sunday, McKay and Chad Yetmen were both reassigned to the Fuel of the ECHL. There’s hope that a few of Rockford’s forwards, like Lukas Reichel, Dylan McLaughlin, and Kale Howarth, are nearing a return to action.
- Saturday was the IceHogs annual Teddy Bear Toss promotion. Despite just 2,791 fans attending, the team set a franchise record with 4,753 stuffed animals donated after Gicewicz’s first-period goal.
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