HOGS CAP WEEK 27 WITH MUCH-NEEDED VICTORIES

By: Fritz Stillings
Photo By Greg Hamil

Rockford holds final playoff spot entering final week of regular season

Week 27 Results:
Wednesday, April 10: Rockford 0 at Peoria 4
Friday, April 12: Chicago 3 vs. Rockford 7
Saturday, April 13: Rockford 3 at Milwaukee 1

Week 28 Schedule:
Friday, April 19 at San Antonio, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 20 at Texas, 7 p.m.

Week 27 Recap:
Three games were slated during Week 27 for the Rockford IceHogs and to gain ground in the Western Conference playoff race, each was a must-win tilt. Despite stumbling in Peoria on Wednesday, the Hogs came roaring back for the regular season home finale on Friday by blowing out fellow Western Conference playoff hopefull, the Chicago Wolves. Rockford followed up the high-octane contest by defeating another Western Conference playoff contender in the Milwaukee Admirals at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. With half of the Western Conference playoff teams booked for post-season play, the Hogs will look for help from their foes in the final week of the season, as they enter Week 28 just two points ahead of Milwaukee and Chicago. The Admirals and Wolves each have four games scheduled this week (two head-to-head), while the Hogs have just two games, both on the road at San Antonio and Texas to close out the regular season.

Bacon Bits:
- Center Brandon Pirri has 14 points (2g-12a) over the past two weeks, spanning seven games

- Pirri notched an IceHogs franchise record five assists and six overall points in Friday’s 7-3 win over Chicago

- Entering the 28th and final week of the regular season, Pirri is tied with former IceHogs center and linemate Jeff Taffe of the Hershey Bears, with 70 for the league lead in points

- By notching 70 points this season, Pirri becomes just the second IceHogs skater in the team’s AHL era to reach the 70 point plateau, joining Martin St. Pierre (07-08; 88 pts)

- Ben Smith returned to the IceHogs lineup on Friday after missing seven games due to injury and notched his first career hat trick and added an assist

- Smith scored the game winning goal in both games over the weekend to grab the team lead with seven game winners and had 4g-2a-6pts in the two games

- Smith (23) joined Jeremy Morin (29), Martin St. Pierre (25), Jimmy Hayes (23) and Brandon Pirri (21) as 20 goal scorers for the IceHogs this season

- In his 12 games with the IceHogs this season, Rostislav Olesz has 7g-9a-16pts

- Carter Hutton has won three straight starts while compiling a 1.66 goals against average and a .937 save percentage

- After starting the season 1-6-0-1 against the Midwest Division, Rockford went 22-13-1-0 (.625) over the last 36 games against the Division to finish with a 23-19-1-1 record

- Rockford claimed the 2nd Annual Illinois Lottery Cup with their 7-3 win over Chicago Friday

- Rockford had a season-high 10 power play chances on Saturday against Milwaukee

- The IceHogs reached the 40-win mark for the first time since 2009-10.

- Since the IceHogs joined the AHL in 2007-08, only two teams have failed to qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs after winning 40 games during the regular season (San Antonio-40, 2010-11; Bridgeport-40, 2007-08)

- The IceHogs set an all-time average attendance record, averaging 4,560 fans per game this season

- The team hosted their fifth sellout of the season during Friday’s home regular season finale at the BMO Harris Bank Center

Hot Hog: Week 27
Brandon Pirri       Center
Center Brandon Pirri set IceHogs’ franchise records for assists and points in a game and surged to the 70-point mark during Week 27. The Toronto native now shows 14 points over the past two weeks, including 2g-12a-14pts over the seven game stretch. After getting shutout on Wednesday in Peoria, Rockford, led by Pirri, exploded for seven goals on Friday. Pirri put up a goal and five assists in the 7-3 win over Chicago to set the club record in both categories. Then on Saturday, Pirri marked an assist on the IceHogs game-winning goal in a 3-1 win in Milwaukee over the Admirals.

Upcoming Games:
Friday, April 19 at San Antonio: Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. as the Hogs head to Texas to close out the campaign with their last stop in San Antonio against the Rampage at the AT&T Center. The Hogs are 2-1-0-0 in the first three tilts this year against the Florida Panthers’ affiliate.

Saturday, April 20 at Texas: Puck drops at 7 p.m. as the IceHogs close out the regular season with a tilt against the Texas Stars in Cedar Park, Tex. The previous time Rockford and Texas squared off was on Feb. 5 when Rockford overcame a three-goal deficit and claimed a 5-4 victory via shootout. Overall, the Hogs are 1-2-0-0 against the Dallas Stars affiliate this season and 6-3-1-0 all-time at the Cedar Park Center.

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 from 6-7 p.m. most Mondays as they chat with IceHogs players, coaches and front office members. This week’s guests include forwards Brandon Pirri and Kyle Beach, and head coach Ted Dent. 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.

Illinois Lottery Cup Standings

lllinois Lottery Cup Series 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



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