By Todd Reicher
The Rockford IceHogs are continuing to struggle in what is shaping up to be the worst record in ‘Hogs history. Rockford has never finished with a winning percentage under .500, but all signs are pointing in that direction.
Rockford continued their slide in week 16 suffering their fifth straight loss, which also included two overtime losses.
After losing to the San Antonio Rampage in overtime back on Sunday, January 22, the IceHogs stayed in San Antonio for a Wednesday meeting where the Rampage blasted Rockford to the tune of 6-2.
The Rampage took the first lead of the game with a power play marker 12:11 into the contest, but Spencer Abbott tied the game up 65 seconds later.
Anton Lindholm would give San Antonio their second lead of the game at 17:20, which carried through all the way until the third period.
After a scoreless second period, it was Brandon Mashinter scoring on the power play at 3:38 of the final frame to tie the game once again.
That’s when the wheels fell off for Rockford as San Antonio lit up Jeff Glass for four goals on seven shots to give the Rampage the 6-2 score.
The IceHogs returned home on Friday, January 27 where they hosted the Iowa Wild for the first game of a back-to-back series.
Rockford dominated play for the first 40 minutes, going up 2-0 and holding Iowa to 14 shots compared to the IceHogs 29.
Jeremy Langlois potted his second of the season at 18:08 of the first frame to break the scoreless tie, and Sam Carrick scored his seventh at 11:01 of the second period for the 2-0 lead.
Once again, Rockford would fail to play a full 60 minutes, and 1:14 into the third frame, Iowa would get on the board during their first, and only, power play chance of the game.
As Rockford sat back trying to protect their one-goal lead, former Chicago Wolves forward Pat Cannone scored his sixth of the season at 14:36 to knot the score at 2-2.
Rockford surpassed Iowa in shots during the overtime session, 3-2, but it was Alex Tuch scoring with 14 seconds remaining in the extra session to give Iowa a 3-2 win.
The following night both teams would meet for the back side of the double-header for Rockford’s annual Pink in the Rink night.
It was Rockford coming out hot, putting the first seven shots on the board before Iowa registered their first shot five minutes into the contest. The IceHogs would continue to fire shots at veteran netminder Alex Stalock, but the seasoned goaltender fought off the early onslaught. Towards the end of the period, Rockford was up 12-4 in shots, but the Wild came on with a late surge in the final two minutes and brought the shot count to 12-9 before the period would come to a close.
Then at 4:02 into the second period we had our first goal of the game, which came off the stick of Iowa’s Tuch.
The IceHogs answered back 2:24 later off a great feed from Mark McNeill to Langlois who redirected the pass past Stalock for the 1-1 tie.
Rockford’s second period woes once again reared their heads as Iowa would score two more times within a three minute span to take a 3-1 lead into the third.
The Wild would score two more goals in under two minutes at the half-way point of the third to take control of the game, and a 5-1 lead.
Rockford was unable to get another puck past Stalock as the Wild swept the two game series, putting Rockford’s record at a league-worst 14-23-5-3 for 36 points and a .400 win percentage.
Believe it or not, Rockford is only five points behind their two nearest division opponents in the Charlotte Checkers and Manitoba Moose, who both sit at 41.
Stat-wise, Rockford also ranks last in the league in goals for with 105, and second to last in goals again with 154, which is four behind the Hartford Wolfpack. As mentioned previously, Rockford also ranks last in the league in second period goal differential, although this stat is not tracked for public viewing.
After the brief All-Star break, Rockford returns to action on Friday to face the Milwaukee Admirals on the road. Rockford plays their second and final game of week 17 on Saturday on the road against the Chicago Wolves. The IceHogs next home game is Tuesday, February 7 against the Wolves. After the Chicago game on Saturday, Rockford will play six of their next seven at home for their longest home stand of the season.