NORTH OF THE BORDER: HOGS TAKE THREE OF FOUR

By: Fritz Stillings
Photo By Clint Trahan

Rockford snatches three points in Abbotsford over weekend

Week 24 Recap:
Friday, March 22: Rockford 5 at Abbotsford 2
Saturday, March 23: Rockford 3 at Abbotsford 4 OT

Week 25 Schedule:
Wednesday, March 27 vs. Toronto, 7:05 p.m.
Friday, March 29 vs. Milwaukee, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 30 vs. Oklahoma City, 7:05 p.m.

Week 24 Recap:
In the thick of the densely populated Western Conference playoff race, the Rockford IceHogs traveled to Abbotsford, B.C. for a weekend series with the Abbotsford Heat. With four valuable points on the line, the Hogs managed to capture three of the four points in order to maintain pace in the Western Conference. As the Hogs enter Week 25, they’ll host a trio of teams also fighting for a playoff spot in the Toronto Marlies, Milwaukee Admirals and Oklahoma City Barons.

Bacon Bits:
- Rockford is 8-2-0-1 on the road over their past 11 games dating back to Feb. 20

- The IceHogs lost just their second overtime game of the season on Saturday, falling 4-3 in Abbotsford

- All four of Rockford's overtime decisions (2-2) have come on the road this season

- The IceHogs power play went 3-8 over the weekend in Abbotsford against the fifth ranked penalty kill in the AHL and the unit continues to pace the league with a 22.1% conversion rate

- Rockford's power play is 5-15 (33.3%) over their past three games, breaking out of a 2-20 slump over their prior six contests

- After Saturday's game, Brandon Pirri (19g-34a-53pts), Martin St. Pierre (21g-29a-50pts) and Jeremy Morin (25g-22a-47pts) were all in the top 20 in the AHL in scoring

- Morin has 8g-4a-12pts in eight March games and 15g-15a-30pts in 27 games since Jan. 9

- On Saturday Pirri became the fifth different IceHogs skater to play in his 200th career game with Rockford during the team's AHL era

- In the 16 games since Feb. 13, Pirri has 6g-13a-19pts and Rockford is 11-4-1-0 (.719) over that time period

- Rostislav Olesz returned to game action on Friday for the first time since April 1, 2012 and registered 2g-1a-3pts over the two game weekend in Abbotsford

- Olesz tied Saturday's game with a power play goal with 10 seconds remaining in regulation, the second time Rockford has tied a game in the final 10 seconds over the past eight games

- Henrik Karlsson had his personal four-game winning streak snapped on Saturday in Rockford's 4-3 overtime loss

- Brad Mills was awarded Rockford's fifth penalty shot attempt on Friday and became the first IceHogs skater to convert this season

- Mills' penalty shot goal was shorthanded, setting a new IceHogs single-season record as the team now has nine shorthanded goals

- Seven different IceHogs skaters have tallied a shorthanded goal this season with Jimmy Hayes and Jeremy Morin leading the way with two shorties apiece

- Ben Smith has points in three-straight games, totaling 1g-4a-5pts during his hot stretch

- Steve Montador wired home the game-winning goal for Rockford on Friday, his first AHL goal since the 2002-03 season when he was with the Saint John Flames

Hot Hog: Week 24
Rostislav Olesz    Left Wing
Returning to action for the first time in nearly a year due to an injury, Rostislav Olesz stepped right in and helped the IceHogs take three of four points from the Abbotsford Heat in Week 24. In his first game back since April 1, 2012, Olesz chipped in a goal and assist in the Hogs’ 5-2 win over the Heat on Friday. The following night, with the IceHogs trailing late in the game, Olesz netted his second goal of the season with 10 seconds left to force overtime. Olesz finished the weekend with two goals and an assist in two contests.

Upcoming Games:
Wednesday, March 27 vs. Toronto Marlies: Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. as the Hogs welcome the Toronto Marlies to the BMO Harris Bank Center for the annual meeting in Rockford between the two Western Conference squads. It marks the second and final meeting between the Marlies and Hogs this season, as the Toronto Maple Leafs affiliate captured a 5-2 victory in the first matchup in Toronto in January. It’s also is a WXRX Dollar Day at the BMO, where beers, hot dogs, soft drinks and companion tickets are just a dollar each.

Friday, March 29 vs. Milwaukee Admirals: Puck drops at 7:05 p.m. for a Midwest Division showdown between the IceHogs and Admirals. It marks the ninth meeting between the divisional rivals on the campaign, with each squad holding a 4-3-1-0 record in the season series.

Saturday, March 30 vs. Oklahoma City Barons: Beginning at 7:05 p.m. the IceHogs and Barons duel for the final time this season as the Hogs hold a 2-1-0-0 edge over the Edmonton Oilers affiliate thus far. The first 1,500 fans to the BMO Harris Bank Center will receive an IceHogs gym bag, courtesy of Peak Fitness.

Bud Light Hog Talk Returns Tonight:
Bud Light Hog Talk returns tonight to District Bar and Grill from 6-7 p.m. District is located at 205 West State St., one block north of the BMO Harris Bank Center. Fans can join Mike Peck and Slavko Bekovic from 6-7 p.m. most Mondays as they chat with IceHogs players, coaches and front office members. This week’s guests include forwards Byron Froese and Joakim Nordstrom and assistant coach Ben Simon. Take advantage of food and Bud Light specials at District. The show will be re-aired on Tuesdays from 7-8 p.m. on 23.2 Antenna TV.

The IceHogs Broadcasting Network:
Catch every IceHogs game, home and road, in 2012-13 on 23.2 Antenna TV. The games can also be viewed on Comcast cable channel-436, Charter cable channel-970 or Mediacom-101 in the Rockford market and online through AHLlive.com. Every game will be streamed through IceHogs.com as well and inside the BMO Harris Bank Center on 104.3 FM. For a complete listing of TV stations carrying IceHogs games, visit IceHogs.com. Every broadcast will start with the U.S. Cellular Pregame before Mike Peck calls the action.

Tickets On Sale for 2012-2013!
IceHogs individual game tickets are on sale! Call (815) 968-5222 to reserve your seats for any IceHogs regular season game during the 2012-13 season. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the BMO Harris Bank Center Box Office in downtown Rockford, any Ticketmaster outlet or on the web at www.IceHogs.com. Tickets start at just $7.

Illinois Lottery Cup Standings

Teams      Record    Points
Peoria      10-7-2-0     22
Chicago   10-9-1-0     21
Rockford  10-9-0-1     21

Rockford vs. Chicago   5-5-0-1
Rockford vs. Peoria      5-4-0-0

Upcoming Illinois Lottery Cup Games:
April 6: Rockford at Peoria, 7:05 p.m.
April 7: Peoria vs. Rockford, 5:05 p.m.
April 10: Rockford at Peoria, 7:05 p.m.



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