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HOGS GO DOWN FIGHTING, FINISH SEASON WITH 42 WINS

Article By: Fritz Stillings

Photo by Darren Abate
04/22/2013 1:00 PM -

Rockford caps regular season with pair of victories in Texas

Week 28 Results:
Friday, April 19: Rockford 9 at San Antonio 4
Saturday, April 20: Rockford 5 at Texas 3

Week 28 Recap:
A 42-win season on the Rockford IceHogs’ season resume wasn’t enough to qualify the Chicago Blackhawks affiliate for the Calder Cup Playoffs, despite a pair of dramatic road victories during the final week of the regular season. In two games during Week 28, Rockford tallied 14 goals and overcame a two-goal third period deficit over the Western Conference champion Texas Stars to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Hogs traveled to San Antonio on Friday and defeated the Rampage 9-4 and then followed it up the proceeding night for the season finale in Cedar Park, Tex. as they rallied for five consecutive goals to cap a 5-3 victory over the Stars. Despite the sweep in Texas, the Hogs needed the Milwaukee Admirals to drop just one of their four Week 28 tilts, however, the Admirals rattled off four consecutive victories to snag the eighth and final Western Conference playoff position. Rockford finished the season 42-31-2-1 for 87 points, just two shy of playoff hockey.

Bacon Bits:
- Despite winning 42 games, the same amount or more than five of the eight Western Conference playoff qualifiers, Rockford missed out on the Calder Cup Playoffs for the third straight season

- The IceHogs are the first team in the 77 year history of the American Hockey League to not qualify for the postseason with 42 wins

- Grand Rapids failed to make the postseason in 2004-05 despite winning 41 contests

- Rockford won eight of their final nine games and dating back to Feb. 5, the team finished their final 31 tilts with a record of 22-8-1-0, a .726 winning percentage

- Over that same time period, Milwaukee finished their final 33 games 22-10-1-0 (.681)

- Center Brandon Pirri became the first IceHogs skater to claim the overall league scoring title as he finished 2012-13 with 75 points (22g-53a), four more than Hershey’s Jeff Taffe

- Over his last four games, Pirri totaled 2g-10a-12pts with a +7

- After missing seven games due to injury, winger Ben Smith returned for Rockford’s final four games and notched 8g-3a-11pts with a +9

- Smith scored the game-winning goal in three of Rockford’s final four games and set a new IceHogs single season record with eight game-winning goals

- The IceHogs had three players finish in the top-15 in scoring, including Brandon Pirri (75pts), Martin St. Pierre (59pts) and Jeremy Morin (58pts)

- Morin became the third IceHogs player in the team’s AHL era to reach the 30 goal plateau

- Defenseman Adam Clendening finished third in scoring among all AHL defensemen with 46 points, including an AHL best 37 assists

- Goalie Kent Simpson earned his first career AHL win on Saturday, coming in relief of Henrik Karlsson and stopping all 32 shots faced

- It was Simpson’s third career appearance for Rockford as he also started the season finale in 2011-12 against Charlotte in a 4-3 shootout loss

- Rockford led the AHL in penalty minutes with 1,716, 22 more PIMs than Bridgeport and an average of 22.58 PIMs per game

- Rockford set a franchise record and finished third in the AHL with a 20.6% power play

- The team’s penalty kill finished tied for 12th in the AHL with an 83.6% kill, but third on the road at 86.8%

- The IceHogs finished with a team record 11 shorthanded goals, tied for fourth most in the AHL

- The IceHogs were the highest scoring third period team in the AHL as they notched 90 third period goals, five more than Charlotte, the next closest team

- Rockford set a single game team AHL record with nine goals on Friday in San Antonio

- Rockford earned their 11th third-period come-from behind victory of the season on Saturday in Texas, four more than the next closest team

- Rockford finished the season 11-24-2-0 when behind after two periods and 13-14-1-0 when trailing after the first frame, also an AHL high for wins

- Rockford had the second most goals in the AHL in 2012-13, scoring 246 times, an average of 3.24 per game, just one goal behind league leading Syracuse

- Over Rockford’s last eight games, the team averaged 4.63 goals per contest, scoring 37 times and that includes getting shutout in Peoria on April 10

- Rockford led the AHL in shots on goal, firing an average of 33.68 shots per game

- Over their last 17 road games, Rockford finished 13-3-1-0 (.794)

Hot Hog: Week 28
Ben Smith       Right Wing
Winger Ben Smith continued his domination since returning from injury on April 10. Smith totaled 4g-1a-5pts with a plus/minus rating of +5 in Week 28. Smith began the Hogs two-game week by notching two goals and an assist in a 9-4 romp in San Antonio over the Rampage. Smith then helped lead the charge in Rockford’s 11th third period come-from-behind victory of the season on Saturday in Texas when he scored his team-leading eighth game winning-goal and added an insurance marker for his third multi-point game in four outings. In 54 games this season, Smith finished with 27g-20-47pts and tied for a team high plus/minus rating of +17.

The IceHogs Broadcasting Network:
Catch every IceHogs game, home and road, in 2013-14 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.

Season Tickets On Sale For 2013-2014!

Five months is a long time to wait for the next season of Rockford IceHogs hockey, but fans can start preparing for October right now. Season ticket packages for the 2013-14 season are now on sale. To find a ticket package that suits your hockey needs, call (815) 847-6399.

Illinois Lottery Cup Standings

Teams         Record       Points
Rockford    13-10-0-1       27
Peoria         11-9-2-0        24
Chicago     10-11-1-0       21

Rockford vs. Chicago   6-5-0-1
Rockford vs. Peoria      7-5-0-0