ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs have moved up to fourth place in the Central Division standings behind a three-game winning streak. Returning to the BMO Harris Bank Center after a five-game road trip, Rockford celebrated with a pair of wins over the weekend.
The IceHogs knocked off Grand Rapids 5-1 on Saturday night, then beat Milwaukee 3-2 the following afternoon. Rockford will have a chance to build on its winning ways this week, starting with Wednesday night’s home date with Manitoba.
Saturday saw the Hogs in control throughout; Josiah Slavin had two goals as Rockford scored the first five goals of the game. This included a three-goal second period that proved to be too much for the Griffins.
On Sunday, the game was tied until midway through the third period. Rookie Lukas Reichel netted his team-leading 19th goal of the season for the game-winner against the Admirals.
- Reichel has been a big part of the streak, with five points in the last three games. He posted two goals in Rockford’s March 15 overtime win in Cleveland, including the game-winner. Reichel is pacing the IceHogs with 43 points (19G, 24A). That production is good for fifth place among AHL rookies.
- Michal Teply and Brett Connolly also figured big over the weekend, with goals in both contests.
- Besides Slavin’s big night on Saturday, Ian Mitchell added a goal and an assist against the Griffins. Mitchell now has nine goals and 19 helpers in 46 games this season. His 26 points is second in scoring for Rockford.
- The play in net continued to be solid for the Hogs; Arvid Soderblom and Collin Delia picked up wins Saturday and Sunday, respectively. With Delia’s recall to the Chicago Blackhawks Monday, it appears that Soderblom will get the bulk of the work in the remaining 19 games. Cale Morris was recalled from the Indy Fuel to serve as his backup, but expect Rockford to lean heavily on Soderblom.
- The IceHogs will be battling for postseason action with little or no reinforcement from the Blackhawks. Defenseman Alex Vlasic was assigned to Rockford in a paper move so that he could participate in the AHL playoffs. The organization didn’t pick up any AHL depth at the trade deadline, though Rockford could make a move through an AHL deal this week.
The Moose, who visit Rockford twice this week, swept the Hogs in Manitoba on March 3 and 5 in the last meetings between the teams. After hosting the Moose Wednesday, Rockford travels to Iowa Friday before returning home for Saturday’s rematch with Manitoba.
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