The Rockford IceHogs had a very good week, winning two of three games and climbing into 14th place. They now stand at 24-34-9-3 with 60 points and a .249 winning percentage.
The IceHogs had slumped into last place overall in the AHL Western Conference, thanks to a streak, which saw them lose 11 of 12 games. They are now percentage points ahead of the Manitoba Moose and San Antonio Rampage. The Bakersfield Condors hold the last playoff spot with a record of 31-25-5-1, good for 68 points and a .548 winning percentage.
With six games remaining, they have not been eliminated from the playoff race yet, but they don’t have a realistic chance. Five teams stand between the IceHogs and the Condors, including the Cleveland Monsters and the Stockton Heat. Both of those teams have a significant edge in either points or winning percentage. In short, the IceHogs would have to win out and every other team would have to go winless.
In the last three games, the IceHogs have used three goalies. Mac Carruth (3 GA, 22 SVS) took the loss. Lars Johansson (1 GA, 29 SVS) and Jeff Glass (1 GA, 36 SVS) each had one win.
Although used only sporadically, Carruth has been roughed up of late. He has given up 29 goals in his last 8 starts. With Scott Darling potentially leaving the Chicago Blackhawks, this hasn’t been a good audition for the veteran goalie.
The three-headed goalie combo for the IceHogs has given up 27 goals in the last 10 games (including one Carruth start). That is a much more tolerable goal against average.
In the last 4-1 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins, the IceHogs were outshot 37-29. This is a reversal of their usual tendency to shoot plenty without putting the puck in the net. Granted this is just one game, but it is a focal point for the IceHogs as the season winds down and they work on skills and drills.
One super positive has been rookie left winger William Pelletier. After winning an NCAA Division III National Championship with Norwich University (of Vermont), Pelletier joined the IceHogs and made an immediate impact. In his second game, he scored two goals and assisted on two others, giving him four pints for the night. Expect Pelletier to be a force next season and expect his jerseys to be best-sellers.
In the remaining six games, the IceHogs have a chance to pass the Tucson Roadrunners for 13th place. It would be a positive step. Coach Ted Dent will continue to stress individual improvement and better teamwork. While this season has been frustrating and a bit of a disappointment, fans do have reasons for hope.