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Friday's Battle between the Pipes

12/17/2010 5:05 PM - Mike Peck
From the sounds of things Bill Peters and Don Lever will stick with Alec Richards and Peter Mannino in between the pipes for each of their respective clubs Friday night as the IceHogs and Wolves face off for the fourth time of the season.

It's likely safe to say that Richards was not happy with his performance on Wednesday.  The second year pro allowed 4 goals on 15 shots, translating into a .733 save percentage and the second worst start for the net minder in 2010-11.

Not all the blame can be placed on Richards in the 4-2 loss.  Both of the Wolves third period goals actually came off the sticks of IceHogs defenders.  The Wolves forwards threw pucks in the direction of the net and unfortuantly for Shawn Lalonde and Ivan Vishnevskiy it deflected off their sticks into the back of the Hogs net.

Irregardless of how the goals were scored Bill Peters had to try something to spark the Hogs in the third and the easiest way to attempt that was with a goaltender change.  That meant Richards would take in the last 14 minutes of the game from the IceHogs tunnel. With the loss the Robbinsdale, Minnesota native's record falls to 6-8-1 with a 2.78 GAA and .901 SV%.
It would be easy for Richards to have Wednesday's performance weigh heavily on his mind but by Coach Peters giving him the start again Friday it shows that he has confidence in the young goaltender's ability to bounce back and play in important games.

On the other end of the ice it really shouldn’t be a surprise that Peter Mannino will start again against the IceHogs Friday.  He has made appearances in the Wolves last 16 games and started the last eight. 

Mannino had a solid outing making 30 saves on 32 shots Wednesday night in the victory and was helped by a strong defensive performance from his teamates in front of him.  It is pretty safe to say that since Ondrej Pavelec was called up to the Atlanta Thrashers, Mannino has become the number one tender in Chicago.

The University of Denver produce does not necessarily have the best numbers statistically (3.10 GAA, .897 SV%) but now has ten wins and six loses on the season.  Ultimately when looking at goaltending statistics the "Win" column garners the most attention and 10 wins for Mannino is very respectable on a struggling Chicago Wolves team .

Both of the tenders in tonight's match up have had their ups and downs on the season and will have to perform well if they want to give their club a shot at the victory. 

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How Good Is Team Canada?

12/15/2010 2:44 PM - Mike Peck
Here’s how good the talent pool is for Team Canada’s World Jr. team:  Brandon Pirri didn’t make the final cut.

Is this a surprise, yes, but you also have to look at the situation.  I didn’t see one-second of footage of the camp, but by just looking at the final roster, it appears that there wasn’t enough room for another center. So when the staff decided to make the cuts, Pirri was one of them.

The World Jr. Tournament isn’t far behind the Stanley Cup on hype in Canada, and according to our in-house Canadian (Matt Prefontaine), the only national hockey event in Canada is the Olympics.  So the staff assembling the team does not choose on potential.  You better show up to the short pre-tournament camp and you better bring you’re A+ game.

And it’s crazy how they notify the players that they’ve made the team. It’s not a phone call, or a meeting in the locker room or coach’s office. They actually go around to each player’s hotel room at 6 a.m. and knock on the door to tell them.  Check out this video.

Blackhawks prospect and current University of Minnesota-Duluth defenseman Dylan Olsen did make the team. Olsen is a player that will more than likely end up in Rockford sometime in the next few seasons. He is a sophomore at UMD this year.

Ryan Johnson will make his IceHogs debut tonight for Rockford. Not only is it his IceHogs debut, but also his season debut. A good article by Reed Schreck on Johnson in the RRStar today (click here).

Like Mathis Olimb a couple weeks back, Johnson is stepping into a situation where players are in mid-season form where he hasn’t played a game.  Johnson is a slick skating, defensive center who is a top notch penalty killer, shot blocker and very good in the face-off circle.  Just because he has 667 career games in the NHL, don’t expect a rash of points from Johnson though.

The Thunder Bay, Ontario native was back in his hometown skating with the University team waiting for the right opportunity when the Blackhawks came a calling.

The IceHogs open a rare two-game set at home against the Wolves tonight and Alec Richards is set to go in goal for Rockford. I’d expect Peter Mannino to be in goal for Chicago as he’s carried the bulk of the load lately and has helped pull the Wolves back into the playoff race.

This is an important weekend for Rockford. If the IceHogs can take both games in regulation against Chicago, they’d be just one point back in the standings with four games at-hand. Rockford has at least three games at-hand on the first five teams in front of them in the West Division.

Scratches for Rockford tonight will be Simon Danis-Pepin, Wade Brookbank, Hugh Jessiman (lower) and Brandon Bollig. There will be one other scratch with Pirri coming back to Rockford.

Darren Haydar will miss both games this week for Chicago against Rockford as he was levied a three-game suspension earlier today.