[Last Season Lookback hits the highlights of each month from the 2018-19 season. Below are the key storylines from the respective month, milestones hit by individual players or the full team, standout stats and a quotable takeaway. Check back each week as we delve into the full seven-month season]. October | November
LAST SEASON LOOKBACK: DECEMBER, 2018
Rockford tied for the AHL lead with 26 overtimes games during the 2018-19 season and really set the foundation for that league-leading total during the final month of the 2018 calendar year. From Dec. 2 – 21, the Hogs played into overtime six times during an eight-game stretch. The weary Hogs impressively won five of those six contests with overtime heroics from Dylan Sikura (two game-winning goals), Luke Johnson, Jan Rutta and Darren Raddysh. Rockford’s lone loss during that grueling stretch was a 3-2 setback vs. Texas in which goaltender Anton Forsberg starred with a season-high 49 saves on 52 shots.
The IceHogs’ never-say-die mentality in the overtime thrillers proved essential down the stretch as the Hogs went 12-4 in OT to set the team’s AHL record for OT wins in a single season.
Defenseman Andrew Campbell stole headlines when he was named by the AHL the playing captain of the Western Conference for the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic. Campbell became the IceHogs first player tabbed a captain of the AHL All-Star Game and he later led the Western Conference in the Skills Challenge and Central Division to a 1-2 record in the annual showcase. Campbell, who previously served as either an alternate captain or captain of each of his previous four AHL teams, continued that trend in 2018-19 by wearing the “A” for the Hogs.
Campbell was a staple in the IceHogs’ lineup for the 2018-19 season, including skating in each of Rockford’s 13 games in December. The consistent pace set the stage for the defenseman to appear in his 700th career AHL game later in the season.
*Holiday Hustle for 4th
Much as they were throughout the campaign, the IceHogs were streaky in December, posting identical winning and losing streaks while sliding up and down the standings in the Central Division. The Hogs peeled off points in four straight games through the middle of the month, moving within just one point of fourth place and a potential playoff berth entering Dec. 25. However, following the Christmas holiday, Rockford dropped four straight contests to conclude December with a record of 6-5-2-0 through the month’s 13 games.
The offsetting streaks ultimately placed the IceHogs in sixth in the Central Division, but again just one point out of a potential postseason appearance. Rockford was set for an intra-division duel entering January and the second half of the season.
*Raddysh Caps Calendar Year Ranked Fourth
Darren Raddysh capped the 2018 calendar year with the fourth-most points (21) by an IceHogs defenseman at the turn of the New Year in the team's AHL history (and his seven goals were tied for the most by a Hogs defenseman at the New Year since the team joined the AHL). Raddysh’s 21 points trailed only Adam Clendening (23 points, 2013-14), T.J. Brennan (28 points, 2014-15) and Brian Connelly (29 points, 2011-12).
*Unbeaten When Scoring 3+
The Hogs continued an impressive trend of going unbeaten in regulation when scoring more than two goals. Rockford improved to and concluded the month of December with a record of 13-0-1-0 when tallying at least three goals in a game.
The IceHogs scored at least one power-play goal in 13 straight games against the Wolves from Dec. 30 of the 2017-18 season to Nov. 25 of the 2018-19 season. The power play has accounted for 43 percent of the Hogs' scoring against the Wolves in that time, with Rockford netting 19 of its 44 goals on the power play. Eleven different IceHogs skaters scored a power-play goal against Chicago during that stretch, including seven skaters with multiple PPGs.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH:
*Jacob Nilsson 12 games: 8 points (5g, 3a) | -3 rating
The IceHogs’ MVP, Jacob Nilsson, posted one of his two three-point efforts of the 2018-19 season during his standout month of December, potting a goal with two assists on Dec. 21 at Chicago. He shared the team lead with Lucas Carlsson in both goals and scoring during the month, despite playing in fewer games than Carlsson.
*Defenseman Andrew Campbell (on his selection as captain at the AHL All-Star Classic)
“It’s a big honor for my family and you know it just means a lot to me to think back of all my past coaches, trainers and teammates, and my friends and family have supported me to play this long and to be able to get an opportunity like this. I mean like I just said, a lot of thanks and gratitude to all my former trainers throughout the years, athletic therapist to be able to keep me on the ice, and (everyone) that keeps you motivated and just to keep plugging away at it.”