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The Rockford Rewind: Hogs take 5 of week's 8 points

by Nate Haeni / Chicago Blackhawks

Tue., Mar. 8: IceHogs 2 at Toronto Marlies 3 (SO):

- The IceHogs participated in their first shootout in nearly three months (Dec. 10) and were blanked 3-0.
- Rookie winger Ben Smith recorded his first career two-goal game, accounting for both of Rockford’s tallies in regulation.
- Hannu Toivonen made 41 saves in the shootout loss.

Wed., Mar. 9: IceHogs 2 at Hamilton Bulldogs 1 (SO):          
- For the second straight, game Rockford participated in the shootout, this time winning the extra session 3-2.
- Ben Smith again was Rockford’s lone regulation goal scorer and added another tally in the shootout.
- Hannu Toivonen made a season high 44 saves to earn the win.
- The victory was Rockford’s first ever win over Hamilton in five all-time meetings.

Fri., Mar. 11: IceHogs 2 at Milwaukee Admirals 0:
- Hannu Toivonen earned his third shutout of the season, making 28 saves.
- Brian Connelly notched his first power-play goal of the year in the third period to put Rockford out front.
- Igor Makarov sealed the game with an empty net goal.

Sun., Mar. 13: Chicago Wolves 5 vs. IceHogs 1:
- Rockford returned home for the first time in 13 days and dropped a 5-1 decision to the Wolves.
- For the third time in four games, Ben Smith scored Rockford‘s only regulation goal.
- Rockford dropped their third game of the season to the Wolves at the MetroCentre after losing just three times in their first 15 home matchups against Chicago.


Bacon Bits:
- Rockford completed a season-long seven-game road trip on Friday with a 4-1-1-1 record.
- Puckstopper Hannu Toivonen picked up his 20th career professional shutout, stopping all 28 shots faced on Friday in Milwaukee.
- Toivonen appeared in all seven of Rockford’s games during their recent road swing and went 4-0-1-1 with a 1.69 goals against average and a .954 save percentage.
- Toivonen has appeared in a season-high eight-straight games.
- Ben Smith tallied goals in four straight games for the IceHogs from 3/4/11 to 3/9/11, tying Peter LeBlanc’s season-high mark.
- Smith also scored on Sunday and now leads all Rockford rookies with 15 goals on the campaign, including five in his last five games.
- Rockford found themselves in back-to-back shootouts on Tuesday and Wednesday for the first extra, extra hockey session in nearly three months.
- The IceHogs last finished a game in a shootout on Dec. 10, 2010 in which they dropped the contest 4-3 to Milwaukee.
- The IceHogs held their 12th Annual Jersey Auction on Sunday and raised $34,156 for the IceHogs Charitable Foundation.
- In 12 auctions, the IceHogs, along with their generous fans, have helped raise $613,759.
- Defenseman Brian Connelly set a new IceHogs single-season AHL record with 41 points on the season, breaking Danny Groulx’s mark of 40 points by a defenseman set in 2008-09.
- Connelly now has 6g-36a-42 through 66 games this season.


Top Performer:
Goaltender Hannu Toivonen was very strong as the IceHogs finished off their season-long seven-game road trip in Week 23. Overall in Week 23, Toivonen had a record of 2-1-0-1 with a .945 save percentage and a 1.92 goals against average. The Hattula, Finland native faced a season-high 43 shots on goal and made 41 saves in a shootout loss on Tuesday in Toronto. Toivonen came right back the following night in Hamilton and stopped 44 pucks to earn a 2-1 shootout win. Then, the 26-year-old capped off the road trip by shutting out the Milwaukee Admirals at the Bradley Center on Friday to pick up his 14th win of the season, stopping all 28 shots faced.

A Look Ahead To Week 24:
Friday, March 18 vs. Oklahoma City
Saturday, March 19 vs. Peoria
Sunday, March 20 at Grand Rapids

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