Is it just me or does it feel as if the Rockford IceHogs haven’t been on the Milwaukee Admirals’ schedule enough this season? Tonight’s game included there are still five games remaining between the two Central Division rivals. The Admirals are 4-1-1-1 against the IceHogs this season. They get them tonight at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena and then will be traveling to Rockford’s BMO Harris Bank Center on Tuesday night. The final meetings of the season will take place in April.
The IceHogs are certainly having a rough 2016-17 season and that hasn’t gotten any better with the NHL Trade Deadlines. Mark McNeill was traded to the Dallas Stars organization. Both Spencer Abbott and Sam Carrick were traded to the Anaheim Ducks organization. Their best goaltender, who wasn’t even on the roster until mid-January by the name of Jeff Glass, has since been recalled by the Chicago Blackhawks while former Admiral Scott Darling is out with injury.
That’s all a lot of bad, but that only stacks the deck on what already was a thoroughly disappointing season for the IceHogs who displayed much better a season ago. They have a record of 21-29-8-3 (53 points, 0.434 points percentage) which is the worst in the Central Division.
If you’re an IceHogs fan you can thank the San Antonio Rampage (0.405) for your team not also having the worst record in the Western Conference. Still, the Eastern Conference features three lesser teams… Binghamton Senators (0.432), Rochester Americans (0.431), and Hartford Wolf Pack (0.405)… so it’s not all bad, eh?
At the moment the IceHogs are on a five-game losing streak. During this poor run they had a stretch in which they allowed five-goals in three straight games. It hasn’t necessarily been -all- bad during the losing streak. Their offense has been very active but that defense has been leaving their goaltending exposed. The Admirals might be looking for period-to-period consistency but the IceHogs are looking for it in general.
The top three leading scorers for the IceHogs were all traded away at the NHL Trade Deadline. That leaves the mantle for two defensemen and a forward.
Erik Gustafsson is the current leading scorer for the IceHogs. He has 27 points (5 goals, 22 assists) in 53 games. He is followed closely by Kyle Baun, 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) in 59 games, who is the leading forward in the scoring department. Ville Pokka, another defenseman, then adds 25 points (5 goals, 20 assists) in 61 games.
In net, sans-Glass, the IceHogs will be leaning on the likes of Lars Johansson and Mac Carruth for the time being. Johansson has been the more go-to option between the two available. The 29-year old Swede has a record of 11-12-4-0 from 33 appearances with a 2.65 goals against average, 0.909 save percentage, and 2 shutouts.
A final note for the Admirals. Tonight will mark the final appearance for Miikka Salomäki on his long-term injury loan from the Nashville Predators. He is expected to join them after the completion of tonight’s game per the rules of his conditioning loan.
What are your expectations for tonight’s game following the disappointment for the Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday? How important is it for the Admirals to play a complete sixty-minutes tonight to set the tone for a much tougher Chicago Wolves team that arrives tomorrow night?
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