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IceHogs finish first half with pair of wins

by Rockford IceHogs / Chicago Blackhawks
Photo courtesy of the Rockford IceHogs.

Facing a pair of divisional opponents during Week 14, a third period surge on Friday against Grand Rapids and overtime heroics on Saturday at Milwaukee helped spark the IceHogs to victories over the Midwest Division foes and out of a four-game losing streak. The Hogs hit the midway mark of the season holding a record of 19-17-1-1. Rockford will go up against two Midwest Division squads once again during Week 15 when they host Peoria and Grand Rapids at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

Week 14 Results:
Wednesday, Jan. 9: Grand Rapids 6 vs. Rockford 3
Friday, Jan. 11: Grand Rapids 2 vs. Rockford 5
Saturday, Jan. 12: Rockford 2 at Milwaukee 1 (OT)

Bacon Bits:

> Rookie winger Brandon Saad notched an IceHogs single-game high four points (1g-3a) in Rockford’s 5-2 win over Grand Rapids on Friday. The four points tied an IceHogs single-game rookie record last accomplished by Jack Skille on 3/9/08 vs. Iowa (3G, A). Saad then came back on Saturday and added a goal and an assist, including the overtime game winner in Rockford’s 2-1 win over Milwaukee.

> Jeremy Morin has a goal in three straight games, one game shy of the IceHogs season-high.

> Brandon Pirri attempted Rockford’s third penalty shot of the season on Saturday in Milwaukee, most in the AHL. The Hogs have failed to convert on all three penalty shot attempts and are now 2-16 (12.5%) on penalty shots during the AHL era.

> After allowing a power-play goal in seven straight games (9-37, 24.3 per), Rockford has held their opponents off the board on the advantage over the past two contests (0-13)

> The IceHogs open a season-high five game homestand on Friday that runs into the AHL All-Star Break

> After starting the season 1-6-0-1 against Midwest Division opponents this season, Rockford is 8-4-1-0 in 13 games since against its own division

> Rockford hits the halfway mark of 2012-13 with a record of 19-17-1-1 (40 points), eight points better than last season when the team was 14-20-1-3 (32 points) through 38 games

> After becoming the first team to reach 100 short-handed situations on Nov. 23, Rockford became the first AHL team to reach 200 penalty kills on Saturday, 73 more than the Chicago Wolves, who have the fewest in the AHL

> IceHogs goalie Carter Hutton is tied for fifth in the AHL with 15 wins, second in losses (14), third in minutes (1762:40), and second in saves (784)

Hot Hog: Week 14

Rookie winger Brandon Saad had a breakout weekend during Week 14, notching the game-winning goal in both contests and racking up six points. After getting held without a point on Wednesday against Grand Rapids, Saad came back against the Griffins and led the Hogs to a 5-2 win on Friday. The Pittsburgh, Penn. native accumulated a goal and three assists in the win for an IceHogs season-high four points and garnered the #1 star of the game. Saad came back on Saturday and put up a goal and an assist, including the overtime game-winning marker, in Rockford’s 2-1 OT victory in Milwaukee over the Admirals.

Upcoming Games:

Friday, Jan. 18 vs. Peoria Rivermen: The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. as the IceHogs and Rivermen duel for the first time since Nov. 21 in an Illinois Lottery Cup matchup. The two squads won’t meet again until February when they faceoff three times at Peoria’s Carver Arena.

Saturday, Jan. 19 vs. Grand Rapids Griffins: Gametime is slated for 7:05 p.m. between the Hogs and Griffins. The IceHogs host their 4th annual Pink in the Rink night as they don special pink jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game. The ice surface will also be painted pink. The first 5,000 fans through the gates will receive pink rally towels compliments of Dickerson & Nieman Realtors, Ferrellgas, Metropolitan Title Agency and Rasmussen College.

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