Sunday, April 12, 2015

ICEHOGS CLOSE OUT ROAD SLATE TODAY IN CHARLOTTE

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By: Ryan Harr
Photo courtesy of Dan Nied/Charlotte Checkers
Rematch with Checkers set for 12 p.m.
Rockford, Ill.- After picking up their 22nd road victory of the season on Saturday night, and tying a franchise record, the Rockford IceHogs will go for one more hoping to set a new bar as they close out the road portion of the 2014-15 regular season schedule.

The puck hits the ice at 12 p.m. for the third of four meetings against the Charlotte Checkers this season. All the action can be seen live on 23.2 Antenna TV or online with AHL Live (ahllive.com), beginning at 11:30 a.m. with the pregame show, “IceHogs Warm Up.”

Rockford blanked the Checkers on Saturday night behind Antti Raanta’s 25-save performance. The shutout was the second of the season for Raanta and marked the team’s 10th of the season which is a franchise record.

The IceHogs skate into the rematch with Charlotte riding a five game winning streak and a 15-4-1-0 record over their past 20 contests. Forward Spencer Abbott leads the charge for the IceHogs with 44 points on the campaign. The winger tallied his 18th goal of the season on Saturday night, extending his goal scoring streak to three straight games and pushing his point streak to five straight (4g-6a).

Rockford has split the first two matchups (1-0-0-1) with the Checkers so far this season, including last night’s 2-0 win and a 3-2 shootout loss back on Jan. 13. The Hogs conclude their head-to-head series with the Checkers on Wednesday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

The Hogs currently sit just one point behind the Grand Rapids Griffins for the Midwest Division lead with 95 points and one game in hand. A win in Charlotte today would not only put Rockford back in front of the Division but it was also land them in a tie for the Western Conference lead with the idle San Antonio Rampage.

Next Home Game: Wednesday, April 15 vs. Charlotte Checkers. The IceHogs begin a three-game homestand to close out their regular season schedule when they host Charlotte at the BMO. It is the final WXRX Dollar Day of the season, so fans have one last chance to enjoy hot dogs, sodas, beers and companion tickets all for just $1 each.

RAANTA SHUTS DOWN CHECKERS IN GOALTENDERS DUEL

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By: Nate Haeni
Photo courtesy of Dan Nied/Charlotte Checkers
Raanta records second career shutout and team's 10th of the season

Rockford, Ill. – With a playoff spot already in their pocket, the Rockford IceHogs (44-21-5-2) have their sights set on a Midwest Division title. The IceHogs moved closer to achieving that goal with a 2-0 blanking of the Charlotte Checkers (29-36-6-1) on Saturday night.

With just four games remaining on the regular season schedule Rockford climbed back in control of the Midwest Division leapfrogging the Grand Rapids Griffins, whose game with San Antonio was still in progress at the conclusion from Charlotte. The win for the IceHogs also guaranteed them home ice advantage for the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs as the team is assured to have at least a fourth seed to begin the postseason.

Both goaltenders turned in solid performances on the night with Antti Raanta picking up his second career AHL shutout and an IceHogs franchise record 10th of the season for the team. While Raanta received goal support from his teammates, he also came up big down the stretch holding the Checkers off the board as they were pressing late in the contest. In all, Raanta stopped all 25 shots he faced to improve his record to 8-1-1.

It was a familiar source that got Rockford’s offense going as Spencer Abbott collected his 18th of the season to give the IceHogs a 1-0 lead at 7:58 in the second period. The IceHogs received an abbreviated power play after skating 4-on-4 for 39 seconds and cashed in for the game’s first tally. Peter Regin dug a puck out along the boards and sent it cross-ice to Ryan Hartman. The winger collected the pass before dishing out a no-look feed for Abbott to tap past Drew MacIntyre.

The goal extended Abbott’s goal scoring streak to three straight games and Rockford’s leading scorer has now notched points in five straight contests (4g-6a).

MacIntyre was stellar between the pipes for Charlotte despite being tagged with the loss. The Checkers netminder stopped numerous IceHogs chances to keep his team in it until the very end as he finished with 33 saves. 

Mark McNeill claimed the club’s goal-scoring lead as he sealed the game with an empty-netter for his 22nd of the season. Rockford earned their AHL-best 22nd victory on the road this season, tying a franchise record last set during the 2006-07 season. 

Next Home Game: Wednesday, April 15 vs. Charlotte Checkers. The IceHogs begin a three-game homestand to close out their regular season schedule when they host Charlotte at the BMO. It is the final WXRX Dollar Day of the season, so fans have one last chance to enjoy hot dogs, sodas, beers and companion tickets all for just $1 each.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

ICEHOGS 2015 CALDER CUP PLAYOFF TICKETS ON SALE THURSDAY APRIL 9

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04/05/2015 10:00 AM

By: Nate Haeni
Photo by Todd Reicher
Playoff tickets to go on sale Thursday, April 9

Rockford, Ill. – After clinching a postseason spot for the first time since 2010, the Rockford IceHogs announced today that single-game tickets for the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs will go on sale to the general public on Thursday, April 9.

Beginning Thursday at 10 a.m. fans can reserve their seats for the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs by stopping by the BMO Harris Bank Center Box Office, calling (815) 968-5222 or online throughTicketmaster. Individual game tickets for the first round start as low at $17. Season ticket holders receive the first two games, labeled “Game A” and “Game B,” of the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs free of charge as it’s included with their ticket package. The two complimentary tickets can be used for the first round only.

For those that are unable to commit to specific games, starting Monday the IceHogs will be offering a 10-voucher flex pack. The discounted package is valid for any home game (based on availability) in the first three rounds. Unused vouchers can be applied to ticket packages for the 2015-16 season. The flex plans are available for most seating locations and start as low as $140.

The IceHogs first round opponent and dates are still to-be-determined and will be announced at a later date. Rockford currently ranks fourth in the Western Conference (41-21-5-2, 89 points) with seven regular season games remaining. The Hogs conclude their 2014-15 regular season schedule on April 18.

The IceHogs become the fourth team in the Western Conference to punch their ticket as eight teams from each conference will qualify for the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs. The three division winners in each conference will be seeded first through third (in order of regular-season points) and the next five best teams (in order of regular-season points) will be seeded fourth through eighth.

The first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, or Conference Quarterfinals, is a best-of-five series. Home ice advantage in the Conference Quarterfinals is granted to those teams seeded first through fourth in each conference.

In the Conference Semifinals and Conference Finals (both are a best-of-seven format), teams will be reseeded according to the same criteria as the Conference Quarterfinals (division leaders will be seeded first and granted home ice advantage while remaining teams will be seeded in order of regular-season points).

Home ice advantage in the Calder Cup Finals will be determined by the higher number of points in the final standings at the end of the Schedule of Championship Games.

Next Home Game: Tuesday, April 7 vs. Milwaukee Admirals. Puck drops at 7 p.m. The IceHogs play the last of 12 games this season against their bordering rivals as the Admirals visit the BMO. It is another WXRX Dollar Day, and fans can enjoy hot dogs, sodas, beers and companion tickets for all $1.

ICEHOGS DOWN AMERICANS TO CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH

By: Brent Hollerud

Photo by Todd Reicher
Alex Broadhurst nets five points as Rockford earns first postseason trip since 2010
Rockford, Ill. - After four seasons on the outside looking in, the Rockford IceHogs are once again postseason bound. The IceHogs (41-21-5-2) helped clinch a spot in the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs with a decisive 7-2 win over the Rochester Americans (27-37-5-1) on Saturday night in front of 5565 at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
The victory, coupled with a Hamilton loss against Utica, ensured Rockford their first playoff berth since the 2009-10 season.  The IceHogs become the seventh team to earn their spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs; the fourth from the Western Conference.  It is the ninth trip to the postseason in franchise history, and the fifth in the eight years Rockford has been a member of the AHL. Opening round seedings, matchups and dates are all yet to be determined.
24 hours after putting six on the scoreboard against Grand Rapids, the IceHogs offense was dominant once again, led by an incredible performance by Alex Broadhurst. The second-year forward put up two goals and three points to record his first professional five-point game.
In addition to Broadhurst's heroics Spencer Abbott added three assists, and Ryan Hartman (1g-2a), Mark McNeill (1g-1a), Dennis Rasmussen (1g-1a) and Phillip Danault (2a) all logged multi-point efforts. Rockford finished 3-for-5 with the man advantage, receiving points from 10 different skaters to help win their sixth-straight game on home ice.
From the outset the home team dictated the flow of the game, finishing with a suffocating 38-14 advantage in the shot column - setting a season-low in shots allowed in the process. Goaltender Michael Leighton had a quiet night, stopping 12 shots en route to picking up his 19th win of the season. Rookie Anthony Peters suffers the loss, turning aside 24 of 29.
While the IceHogs had the Americans on their heels for much of the opening period, Rochester grabbed the first goal of the night. With support and speed coming across the Rockford line, Dan Catenacci put the visitors up 1-0 when he looked off a pass and fired a hard shot far side to cap off a 2-on-1 rush at 10:14 of the period. 
Dennis Rasmussen appeared to find an equalizer minutes later with a tip-in from a point blast, but video review concluded that the deflection was made with a high stick. 
Unfazed by the reversed call and a series of missed opportunities, Rockford's persistence paid off with a pair of late goals in short order to swing the lead and the game's momentum back to their side. Broadhurst and the IceHogs power play made no mistake on their first opportunity, tying the game in legal fashion at 18:10. 
With the puck down low to Peters' right side, Hartman stepped toward the net and slid a cross-crease pass to a wide-open Broadhurst, who beat the sprawling netminder. 
For the second night in a row, Rockford was able to follow up a goal with another one just seconds later. After scoring two third period goals in 30 seconds last night against the Griffins, it took only 22 ticks of the clock for the IceHogs to turn a 1-0 hole into a 2-1 lead. 
When an errant point shot rolled to Kyle Cumiskey on the point, the defenseman set up Danault who handcuffed Peters with a cannon from the high slot. The rebound fell right to a waiting McNeill off of the right post, who delivered his 20th goal of the season and second of the weekend at 18:40. 
Rockford poured on another three goals in the second period as they continued to hound Peters and the Rochester defenders. The playmaker on the first power play marker, Hartman picked up his own 5-on-4 goal to make it a 3-1 game at 6:51. Hartman beat Peters across the grain after receiving a feed from Spencer Abbott stationed behind the goal line. 
The Americans trimmed the IceHogs lead back to one with an impressive goal from Evan Rankin at 10:21, but the home team pushed right back with two more before the end of the period. 
Peter Regin restored the two-goal edge at 14:17 when he snapped a howler past Peters from point-blank range; Rockford's third power play goal of the evening. Rasmussen made it 5-2 minutes after when he found a Broadhurst rebound laying idle in the blue paint. 
Tempers flared to begin the third period. Cody Bass' second fight of the night sparked a line brawl as three pairs of IceHogs and Americans tussled in the neutral zone. 
After the melee Rockford tacked two more goals on the scoresheet, beginning with Broadhurst's second of the evening at 5:05, with assists going to Danault and McNeill. 
Broadhurst put a bow on the five-point night when he set up Garret Ross for Rockford's seventh and final goal with just under three minutes remaining. 
In just seven games since returning to the lineup from a broken arm, Broadhurst has ignited with four goals and five assists. The Orland Park, Ill. native only had two helpers through his first 15 games this year.
Rockford finishes a three-game homestand on Tuesday as they meet the Milwaukee Admirals for the 12th and final time this year.

Next Home Game: Tuesday, April 7 vs. Milwaukee Admirals. Puck drops at 7 p.m. The IceHogs play the last of 12 games this season against their bordering rivals as the Admirals visit the BMO. It is another WXRX Dollar Day, and fans can enjoy hot dogs, sodas, beers and companion tickets for all $1. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

COMETS OVERPOWER HOGS TO SNAP STREAK

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By: Nate Haeni
Photo by Lindsay Mogle
Utica tallies in all three periods to end Hogs hot stretch

Utica, N.Y. – One streak had to come to an end on Saturday night as two of the Western Conference’s hottest teams faced off from the Utica Memorial Auditorium. It was the Utica Comets (41-19-6-1) that escaped with their hot streak in tact with a 4-2 victory over the Rockford IceHogs (39-20-5-2).

Utica pushed their winning streak to seven straight games while snapping the IceHogs six game winning streak. Rockford had picked up points in 10 of 11 games prior to Saturday night’s loss (9-1-1-0).

Despite the Hogs outshooting the Comets by a wide margin, 39-23, Utica took advantage of every opportunity they were given and received a solid performance in net from Joe Cannata. The puckstopper blocked 37 of the 39 shots he faced en route to his third win of the season.

Winger Darren Archibald opened the scoring for Utica in the first period with his first of two on the night. Goaltender Antti Raanta came out to play a puck but Archibald stripped it away and buried his 11th of the season at 17:33.

The Comets continued where they left off in the middle frame garnering two more tallies. Playing his former team for the first time, former Hogs defenseman Adam Clendening sprung Archibald on a breakaway just 26 seconds into the second period. Archibald raced in and flipped the puck to the back of the net to extend the Utica lead to 2-0.

Then, less than four minutes later the Comets used a power play to bump the lead up to 3-0. Raanta stopped a Sven Baertschi shot but the puck kicked out to the stick of Cory Conacher and the winger deposited the rebound at 4:07. The goal chased Raanta from the game as he was replaced by Michael Leighton

The Hogs had an answer on the very next shift however. Leighton came in and was tested right away. After denying a chance from point blank, the IceHogs transitioned to the other end where Alex Broadhurst whacked in a loose puck for his second goal in as many games.

Rockford pressed in the final 20 minutes to get back in the game, outshooting the Comets 14-4 in the period, but Utica again took advantage of a turnover. Hunter Shinkaruk forced a turnover right in front of the Hogs’ cage before going upstairs on Leighton to make it a 4-1 game with 10:46 remaining.

In desperation mode, Ted Dent pulled Leighton in favor of the extra attacker and the IceHogs were able to bring the game within a pair. Forward Spencer Abbott stayed hot as he hammered home his 14th goal of the season and seventh since joining Rockford. The 26 year-old now shows 10 points (7g-3a) in 10 games with Rockford.

But it was too little too late as the IceHogs dropped their first game in regulation since March 14, and split the season series with Utica. The Hogs will finish up a brief three game road swing in Grand Rapids on Wednesday.

Next Home Game: Friday, April 3 vs. Grand Rapid Griffins: Face-off is at 7 p.m. It’s Golf Rockford Night at the BMO as the first 1,500 fans into the building will receive an IceHogs “Jeff Cap” thanks to Bud Light. Doors will open at 5:15 p.m. for fans 21 and older to enjoy another Blue Flame Lounge pre-game party with live music courtesy of Dan Phelps.

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