By Jim Hagerty
DES MOINES, Iowa — The Rockford IceHogs clinched a berth in the 2017-18 Calder Cup Playoffs by clipping the Iowa Wild Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Arena.
The 5-3 win guarantees Rockford one of four available Central Division slots. The Hogs will be joined by the Chicago Wolves, Grand Rapids Griffins and Manitoba Moose in postseason play. Rockford’s seeding is still pending as the logjam atop the division unfolds during the final week of the regular season. Potential home dates will be announced when seeding is finalized.
Tuesday’s game was decided in the third period as Lance Bouma redirected Chris DiDomenico’s centering pass into the back of the net with just under five minutes remaining in regulation. With the score knotted at two, DiDomenico carried the puck down the wing and wired a hard pass to Bouma at the edge of the crease. Bouma converted the pass into a simple deflection past Niklas Svedberg to seal Rockford’s comeback victory.
Echoing a season-long mantra that results will come when his club puts themselves in the position to win, first-year coach Jeremy Colliton called the performance as steady as they’ve been in the last several contests.
“We’ve been able to find ways to get results regardless of circumstances,” Colliton said. “So, I’m really proud of the work these guys have put in.”
Although details are still tentative, fans can purchase tickets to the IceHogs home games for the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs by calling 815-986-6465.
Embodying its playoff-push campaign of “Our Team, Our Time,” Rockford rallied from a sixth-place ranking in the Central Division to notch points in 16 of the last 19 games since Feb. 24. The IceHogs’ sprint down the stretch included a season-high six-game winning streak that helped the Hogs leapfrog the Wild and fortify their position within the top four divisional teams. Rockford concludes the season with a home-and-home series with the top-ranked Chicago Wolves Friday and Saturday, April 13-14.
Next Home Game: Friday, April 13. The IceHogs host their final home game of the 2017-18 regular season with an Illinois Lottery Cup series matchup against the Chicago Wolves. Friday is Fan Appreciation Night and the first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a free copy of this season’s team photo, courtesy of American Solutions for Business. R.