IceHogs: Scouting the Enemy

“WELCOME TO ERF,” said Justin Florek as he quoted his favorite line from Independence Day. (Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)

While Saturday night’s game was a slight punch to the gut it would have nothing in comparison should that performance be repeated tonight. The Milwaukee Admirals were able to get the better of the Rockford IceHogs on Friday with a lesser squad by winning 5-2. It is expected that Vladislav Kamenev and Matt White will be returning to the mix tonight and that should be a very welcome boost.

The 4-0 shutout loss against the Chicago Wolves on Saturday shouldn’t entirely be forgotten about for the Admirals. There are plenty of areas and details for them that need to be cleaned up for the team to find success tonight on the road. Defensively responsible hockey is a good thing but their progression from defense to attack was stifled. They will need to clean up the neutral zone and be less careless in puck possession if they are to do what the Wolves did to them on Saturday night as they would like to do to the IceHogs tonight.

Since these two clashed on Friday night the IceHogs have not played. That frankly means our previous Scouting the Enemy on the IceHogs just about holds up! I must say, watching the Friday game, the IceHogs still possess some great talent in the form of Vinnie Hinostroza, Tyler Motte, and even Michael Latta – who has joined the team and been a consistent worker every night. Yet, losing their top three scorers at the NHL Trade Deadline was a proper gut punch and their hope of salvaging the 2016-17 season was pretty much squashed.

That isn’t to say that the IceHogs were playoff bound at that point in the season. This has been a highly disappointing year for the team who have a record of 21-30-8-3 (53 points, 0.427 points percentage). At the moment they are dead last in the Central Division. The team above them in the divisional standings are the Manitoba Moose (0.435) and the only team with a lesser record in the Western Conference are the San Antonio Rampage (0.415).

As far as things to cheer about the IceHogs do have those three still functional spark plugs in Hinostroza, Motte, and Latta. In particular Hinostroza’s efforts on Friday night are something to watch out for once again tonight. He earned him his first goal in the AHL this season while also getting a primary assist. The soon to be 23-year old Chicago native has 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) in 48 games with the Chicago Blackhawks this season.

In net is where you will find the biggest shake-up for the IceHogs tonight. Jeff Glass has returned to the AHL and should be given the reigns tonight after cuppa coffee in the big time while Scott Darling was out due to injury.

Glass’ 2016-17 season has been a very fun watch from afar considering what he’s accomplished in such a quick time under the IceHogs banner. The 31-year old goaltender was a third round draft pick by the Ottawa Senators in the 2004 NHL Draft. His career in North America took a detour after the 2008-09 season and he set his sights to play in Russia’s KHL. He played there for the past seven seasons and this year was his return. Glass was signed by the Toronto Marlies, things didn’t work out, and then found himself as part of the IceHogs in mid-January.

In just over a month’s work Glass did well enough to earn an NHL contract from the Blackhawks good for the 2017-18 season. He has a record of 5-7-1-0 in 13 games with the IceHogs this season with a 2.62 goals against average, 0.910 save percentage, and 2 shutouts. He has won both starts he has had against the Admirals this season with a 1.45 goals against average and 0.945 save percentage.

What are your expectations for tonight’s game? How big of a boost will it be for the team to get back Kamenev and White tonight? Is there the threat of Saturday’s woes trickling into tonight’s contest?

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