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Week 20 Recap: Rockford takes one of three

by Rockford IceHogs / Chicago Blackhawks
Defenseman T.J. Brennan battles for the puck against the San Antonio Rampage. (Photo courtesy of Rockford IceHogs)

After winning three games last week, it took a win on Saturday for Rockford to avoid being on the wrong end of a three-game sweep in Week 20. After falling 4-0 Wednesday morning to San Antonio in their annual school day game, the IceHogs dropped the first half of a weekend doubleheader in Cleveland against the Lake Erie Monsters, before bouncing back with a win the following night.

Week 20 Results:
Wednesday, Feb. 18, San Antonio 4 vs. Rockford 0
Friday, Feb. 20, Rockford 2 at Lake Erie 3
Saturday, Feb. 21, Rockford 3 at Lake Erie 2

Bacon Bits:

  • After a weekend split in Lake Erie, the IceHogs enter Week 21 in a three-way tie for first place in the AHL’s Midwest Division with Milwaukee and Grand Rapids

  • Rockford’s record in the division now stands at 18-11-3-0, with a 9-7-0-0 mark on the road

  • In the ultra-tight Midwest standings, only six points separate the Griffins, Admirals and IceHogs from the fourth place Chicago Wolves, while 11 points separate first place from the fifth place Monsters

  • The IceHogs claimed their 16th road win of the season on Saturday, second most in the AHL, and now shows an away record of 16-10-1-1 with four of their next six tilts on the road

  • Rookie defenseman Kirill Gotovets and rookie forward Dane Walters both notched their first-career AHL goals over the weekend

  • Rockford played six games in nine days, compiling a record of 4-2-0-0 during the busy stretch

  • Following Saturday’s game in Lake Erie, the IceHogs began a stretch of six games in 23 days, running through March 17

  • The IceHogs will close the season with 16 games in 32 days

  • Defenseman T.J. Brennan scored his second power-play goal of the season on Saturday, a season after leading all AHL d-men with 12 power-play markers

  • Brennan bagged two assists on Friday and now leads the IceHogs with eight multi-point games

  • Brennan’s goal on Saturday broke a 16-game goal-scoring drought, dating back to Jan. 8 at Milwaukee

  • Over their past eight games, the IceHogs have been shorthanded 38 times, an average of 4.75 penalty kills per game

  • The Hogs PK is 8-38 (78.9%) in those eight games and ranks tied for sixth in the AHL at 86.3% on the season

  • Rookie forward Ryan Hartman was returned to Rockford from the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday after becoming the 70th IceHogs skater to play in the NHL after playing in Rockford

  • Also returning to Rockford is goaltender Antti Raanta, with the recall of Scott Darling

  • Raanta has appeared in one game for the IceHogs this season, stopping 33 shots in a 3-2 win against Texas on Nov. 16

Hot Hog: Week 20
Rockford’s leading point producer lived up to the billing in Week 20 as he paced all IceHogs skaters with three points. On Friday night, T.J. Brennan marked assists on both of Rockford’s goals in a 3-2 loss at Lake Erie. Then on Saturday, the rearguard notched his second power-play goal of the season to jump start the Hogs offense in a 3-2 bounce-back win over the Monsters. Overall on the campaign, Brennan leads all Rockford skaters with 9g-27a-36pts, ranking him tied for fourth among all AHL d-men.

Upcoming Games:
Friday, Feb. 27 at Texas Stars:
Game starts at 7:30 p.m. The IceHogs escape the cold weather as they take their annual trip to Cedar Park, Texas to take on the defending champion Stars. The weekend doubleheader begins on Friday at the Cedar Park Center, where the IceHogs hold a 7-3-2-0 all-time record.

Saturday, Feb. 28 at Texas Stars: Face-off is at 7 p.m. Rockford finishes their doubleheader down south with Saturday’s rematch against the Stars at Cedar Park Center. The two teams will meet once more this season following the weekend set, when Texas visits the BMO Harris Bank Center on March 22.

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