Tales from the Trough: IceHogs’ playoff hopes take big hit
By Todd Reicher
A few weeks ago, the Rockford IceHogs were in prime position for a playoff spot, but Rockford has lost five of their last six games to put them on the outside looking in.
Rockford hosted the Milwaukee Admirals Friday, April 11, in the first of three games in three days.
Filip Forsberg tallied the first goal of the game, a power-play marker 3:52 into the game. Forsberg’s 13th of the season came 7 seconds into Milwaukee’s first power-play opportunity of the game.
After a tight first and second period, Austin Watson doubled Milwaukee’s lead with 1:19 remaining in the second period.
The only goal for the ’Hogs was courtesy of their newest member, highly touted 19-year-old prospect Teuvo Teravainen. The “Finnish Flash” was in the right place at the right time, and intercepted a pass in front of the Milwaukee net and sniped it past Marek Mazanec to cut the Ads’ lead to one.
Rockford seemed to grab the momentum, but it was all lost with a Scott Valentine goal with 5:40 remaining in the game.
Forsberg sealed the victory with an empty-net tally with 59 seconds left.
The following night, Rockford hosted the slumping Iowa Wild and squeaked out a 3-2 victory.
Iowa’s Brady Brassart scored his first professional goal on Iowa’s first shot of the game at 5:31 of the first period. The low, sliding shot snaked through Jason LaBarbera’s pads to give the Wild the early lead.
Rockford answered back quickly in the second period with a game-tying goal by Pierre-Marc Bouchard. The snipe came from the left face-off circle for Bouchard’s ninth of the season.
Less than a minute later, Brandon Mashinter gave Rockford its first lead of the weekend with his 14th of the year. Mashinter was stationed in front of the net and knocked the puck past Joel Martin.
Defenseman Mathieu Brisebois scored his third of the year to extend Rockford’s lead to 3-1 after 40 minutes. Despite being outshot 13-6 in the period, Rockford was the only team to put points on the board.
Jamie MacQueen tallied early in the third period to put the fans at the edge of their seats. With more than 15 minutes of game time remaining, anything could happen.
However, the Rockford defense played a strong trap style in the remaining minutes, holding Iowa to four shots in the last 15 minutes, en route to a 3-2 win.
The following night, Rockford headed to the Allstate Arena for the final time, and final road game this season, to face the Chicago Wolves.
Alex Broadhurst scored the only goal of the first period to give the ’Hogs a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Chicago’s Alexandre Bolduc tied the score with a five-on-three power-play goal at 3:07 of the second. Chicago held a slight shot-on-goal advantage after the second period, 19-17.
The wheels came off for Rockford in the final frame with two Chicago goals in a span of 90 seconds. Michael Davis tallied his 10th of the season, and a bad play by LaBarbera behind the net led to the second Chicago goal.
Alex Broadhurst pulled Rockford to within one goal with his second of the night with 5:50 remaining in the contest. A shot from Adam Clendening was blocked by Jake Allen, but Broadhurst was on the back door waiting, and deposited the puck into the twine.
Bolduc matched Broadhurst with his second of the game, an empty-net tally with 1:12 left to put Chicago ahead for good, 4-2.
Keys for the week
Although Rockford played well for the most part, small mistakes cost the team two games this weekend.
It’s not so much a key for the week, but a key for the last few weeks, for Rockford was losing top scoring forwards Jeremy Morin and Joakim Nordstrom. Without the two players in the lineup, Rockford is 1-5 (without Nordstrom) and 4-6 without Morin.
Rockford wraps up the regular season this week with two home games against the Wolves and Charlotte Checkers. Friday’s game against Chicago takes place at 7:05 p.m., as does the Saturday game against Charlotte. Prior to the puck hitting the ice, Rockford will hand out their player awards for the season.
Photos from these — and other — Rockford IceHogs home games can be seen on my website at www.reicherstudios.com/Sports/HockeyPhotos, or on my Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/ReicherStudios.
From the April 16-22, 2014, issue