After sweeping their way through the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, the IceHogs dropped the first two games of the Western Conference Semifinals to the Grand Rapids Griffins at Van Andel Arena. A late Rockford rally fell just short in a 5-3 loss in Wednesday’s Game 1, before the Griffins pulled away with a convincing 5-1 Game 2 victory on Friday night. The best-of-seven series now shifts to the Forest City, with Games 3-5 on slate this week at the BMO Harris Bank Center - Game 5 if necessary.
Week 31 Results:
(Game 1) Wednesday, May 6: Rockford 3 at Grand Rapids 5
(Game 2) Friday, May 8: Rockford 1 at Grand Rapids 5
- The IceHogs are appearing in the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2008 West Division Finals (seven game loss to the Chicago Wolves)
- After losing Games 1 and 2 in Grand Rapids, the IceHogs return to the BMO for Games 3-5 trailing 0-2 in the series.
- The IceHogs are down 0-2 in a best-of-seven series for the fourth time in the team’s AHL era
- Rockford has yet to win a series when trailing 0-2
- In the 2008 series against Chicago, Rockford bounced back from losing Games 1 and 2 with three straight wins - before falling in Games 6 and 7
- Since 2004, only 11 AHL teams have won a seven-game series after losing the first two games
- Rockford has given up five goals in each of the first two games against the Griffins, after only giving up five goals over the entire first round series against Texas
- Right wing Spencer Abbott chipped in assists in both Games 1 and 2, giving him points in four of the IceHogs’ five games this postseason
- Abbott is tied for the Rockford lead in postseason scoring with center Phillip Danault and defenseman Stephen Johns - each showing five points (2g-3a) in five games
- Johns played a key role in a third period rally by the IceHogs in Game 1, scoring and later assisting on a Garret Ross goal to erase a 3-1 deficit
- Winger Pierre-Cedric Labrie set an IceHogs single game postseason record with 22 penalty minutes in Game 2 on Friday
- The IceHogs also set a team single-game postseason record with 64 PIMs in Game 2
- 62 of the 64 PIMs were recorded in the third period for Rockford
- Through five postseason games, the IceHogs have scored 13 of their 14 goals in the first and third periods while tallying just once in the second frame
- Rockford has been outscored 5-1 in the second period overall
- After finishing with a cumulative +5 rating in round one, the Abbott - Brandon Mashinter - Peter Regin unit is a -9 through two games against Grand Rapids
- With Mashinter’s goal to open Game 2’s scoring 6:18 into play, Rockford scored only their second goal in the first period in what was their sixth game at Van Andel Arena this season (including regular season)
- In those six games in Grand Rapids, the IceHogs have outshot the Griffins 87-53 in the first period, but have been outscored 6-2, amassing a 2.3 shooting percentage over that time
- The Rockford-Grand Rapids series is the only Conference Semifinals series that hasn’t gone to overtime yet
- Rockford has played just 23 seconds of overtime in the postseason so far while Grand Rapids hasn’t played beyond regulation yet
Hot Hog: Week 31
A bright spot for the IceHogs continues to be the play of rookie blueliner Stephen Johns. The 23-year-old helped spark a third-period rally in Game 1 against the Griffins with a goal and an assist in a span of 6:04. In five games played this postseason Johns is tied for the team scoring lead with five points (2g-3a), a mark that has him tied for fourth among AHL defenseman, and first among rookie rearguards.
Upcoming Games:Thursday, May 14 vs. Grand Rapids Griffins (Game 4):
Wednesday, May 13 vs. Grand Rapids Griffins (Game 3): The IceHogs will return home to the BMO Harris Bank Center for Game 3 when the best-of-seven series shifts to Rockford. The first 2,500 fans will receive a rally towel courtesy of BMO Harris Bank. The festivities will begin prior to puck drop during a Pre-Game Block Party, sponsored by Swedish American Hospital starting at 4 p.m.
The Western Conference Semis roll on Thursday night in Game 4 between the IceHogs and Griffins at the BMO. The first 2,500 fans will get an IceHogs rally towel thanks to BMO Harris Bank. Come out early to enjoy another Pre-Game Block Party starting at 4 p.m. outside the building, sponsored by Swedish American Hospital.Sunday, May 17 vs. Grand Rapids Griffins (Game 5 - If Necessary):
The IceHogs and Griffins would meet for Game 5 Sunday afternoon at the BMO if necessary. Once again fans can take part in a Pre-Game Block Party presented by Swedish American Hospital.