The Riverpeople Back In Rockford
02/15/2012 3:03 PM - Mike Peck
It’s weird how the AHL schedule plays out. After playing Peoria nine times in their first 33 games (through Dec. 31), the IceHogs haven’t played them since.
Beginning Jan. 11 and running through Feb. 26, the IceHogs will have played the Chicago Wolves eight times. It doesn’t end there; Rockford will take on Milwaukee seven times in their last 22 games. I guess this would be considered “playing them in bunches”.
Weird game on Saturday from the standpoint that it seemed the IceHogs played away from their recent style. The game was really up-and-down and was entertaining until the IceHogs collapsed in the second period.
Rockford will have to be careful tonight because Peoria can open it up as well with T.J. Hensick, Brett Sterling, Phil McRae and company.
After Rockford’s last game in Peoria on Dec. 31, the team adopted a little more defensive minded attitude and we can probably thank the Rivermen for that. Peoria is averaging 4.22 goals per game against Rockford this season as they have scored 38 goals in nine games.
Rockford has a 3.19 GAA against the rest of the AHL, which is almost an entire goal lower.
Tonight the IceHogs will come back with Alexander Salak against Peoria while the Rivermen will go with Ben Bishop. Wade Brookbank isn’t quite ready to return to game action so he’s out along with Philippe Paradis (healthy) and Kyle Beach (upper).
Beach did mention on the air last week that he is hopeful for a return in March. That would be great for his development to get some games in before the offseason so he doesn’t come into 2012-13 with nearly a year layoff without game action.
At this point, the IceHogs have to win a minimum of two games each week. Including this week (Week 21), there are nine weeks left in the regular season and six of them feature three games, two with two contests and one four game week.
At two wins a week, Rockford would finish with 39 victories and at a minimum 83 points which probably wouldn’t get them into the postseason. It’s hard to believe that the season is two-thirds of the way over, but we are about to enter the playoff push.
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