By Todd Reicher
The Rockford IceHogs carried a three-game losing streak into Grand Rapids to face the Griffins, and left with another loss added to the total. Rockford was never really in the game, as the Griffins blasted the ’Hogs for six goals (four against starter Antti Raanta) en route to a 6-2 win.
However, Rockford would jump back into the win column with a win over their new division rival, the Iowa Wild (formerly the Houston Aeros), Friday, Nov. 8.
The lone win of the week was game one of a double-header Nov. 8 at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Rockford scored the first two, storming out to a quick 2-0 lead.
Bobby Shea tallied his first professional goal at 5:22 to give Rockford its first goal of the game, followed by a Brad Winchester goal at 7:55 to put Rockford ahead 2-0. The ’Hogs were in unfamiliar territory as this was only the fourth time this season they had scored the first goal of the contest.
The Wild took advantage of an Alex Broadhurst hooking penalty and closed the gap to 2-1 on a Jason Zucker goal.
Period two was quiet, and only 13 combined shots were fired on goaltenders Raanta and Darcy Kuemper with the ’Hogs edging out the Wild 7-6 in the shots department.
After an up-and-down third period, it was Terry Broadhurst getting around the defense at 11:20 to put Rockford into a more comfortable 3-1 lead. The power-play goal was the fourth of the year for Broadhurst.
Raanta and the ’Hogs’ defense locked it down for the remainder of the game, including the last 1:30 when Kuemper was sent to the bench for the extra attacker, as Rockford took game one 3-1.
The same two teams met again Saturday, Nov. 9, for the second game of the weekend series, with Rockford falling 5-2 in game two.
Iowa got on the board first, tallying the first two goals of the game, both on the power play, to quickly put the Wild up 2-0.
Garret Ross stopped the bleeding at 15:31 of the frame and cut the lead to 2-1 with his third tally of the season.
Compared to the defensive bout the night before, this game was an offensive onslaught. Neither team placed more than seven shots on goal, and there were a total of three goals scored in the period.
Everything went out the window in the second period. The Wild took the reins early, firing seven shots on net before Rockford registered a shot, but Raanta stopped everything thrown his way … at least until late in the period.
To retaliate, Rockford would amass a total of 19 second-period shots while holding the Wild to only three shots after their initial seven.
It was bound to happen sooner or later: the game started to get a little chippy. It started with Iowa taking quite a few penalties at the middle point of the second frame. Brett Bulmer was called for tripping, giving Rockford its second power-play opportunity of the game. The advantage was short-lived, as Jimmy Hayes was called 31 seconds later for goaltender interference to cancel the power play.
Rockford would gain the advantage once again 17 seconds later with a tripping call, and then again 20 seconds later with a cross-checking call.
Despite all of the penalties, Rockford was unable to capitalize, leaving the game at 2-1 Iowa.
The penalties wouldn’t stop there. Five seconds after Iowa’s last penalty, they were called once again for a delay of game penalty. During that same power play, Terry Broadhurst and Stephane Veilleux were called for incidental rouging minors, and Veilleux was also called for charging. It was on that power play that Rockford finally lit the lamp, tying the game at 2-2. Phillip Danault was credited with his second tally of the season with assists from defensemen Adam Clendening and Klas Dahlbeck.
After that, it was all Iowa and their power play. Brett Bulmer scored on the power play for the Wild with 1:10 remaining in the period to reclaim the lead at 3-2.
Raanta would not return for the third period for an undisclosed reason. Clendening was shaken up and would not return as well.
The third period started with a bad hit to the head by Zucker of the Wild, leading to a match penalty and ejection from the game.
An unassisted goal by Taylor Matson and another power-play goal, this time by Veilleux, sealed it for the Wild, as Iowa went on to a 5-2 win.
Keys for the week
The good news is that all lines are contributing for the ’Hogs with three different lines scoring Friday and Saturday.
The man advantage is still producing. Rockford has scored at least one power-play goal in eight out of 12 games this season, and increased that number by scoring at least one power-play goal in two of the three games this week.
The PK woes continued for Rockford, as the Wild finished four-for-six with the extra skater on Saturday and an impressive five-for-11 over the two-game series.
At the end of the week, Rockford was tied with the Abbotsford Heat for most games played this season at 16.
Rockford only plays two games in week seven; one, a road game Friday, Nov. 15, against the Grand Rapids Griffins, and a home game Saturday, Nov. 16, against the San Antonio Rampage.
From the Nov. 13-19, 2013, issue