When we last left the IceHogs beat, they had just lost to the Iowa Wild and dipped to a season-low record of 8-7. The loss to Iowa was especially painful as it was the first game of a five game homestand, which was hoped to turn around their losing skid (4 of the previous 5 games).
The IceHogs were not playing particularly bad or doing any one things specifically wrong. They were just coming up a bit short each time.
Fortunately, the IceHogs started a new streak, winning the next three games, against Grand Rapids, Chicago and Iowa. The first two games were shootout wins. While all would prefer the win in regulation, back-to-back shootout wins showed the IceHogs hanging tough and doing what was needed. The Griffins and the Wolves would be the ones coming up a bit short.
Jeff Glass was the goalie for the first two wins, making 32 and 34 saves in the process, while allowing 2 and 3 goals, respectively. That’s a 92.9% save percentage. Jean-Francois Berube was in goal for the third win, making 23 saves on 24 shots (95.8%). That’s a 93.6% team save percentage over those 3 games. Granted it is a small sample size, but it is a positive nonetheless.
Another player of note was Matthew Highmore, who scored his ninth goal of the season in the last win giving him the team lead in goals scored. He also happened to score his 7th and 8th goals in that game, to make it a hat trick.
The mini-streak brought the IceHogs back to 2nd place in the Central Division of the AHL. They stand at 11-7 with 22 points and a .611 winning percentage. They trail the Manitoba Moose, who are 12-5 with 26 points and a .684 winning percentage.
Tonight, the IceHogs face the Wild again, for the third time in 5 games, to end the homestand. After tonight, they “travel” to Chicago for a game, before returning home for 3 more games, against Manitoba, Chicago and Texas. Every game is important, but beating Manitoba would be a strong statement.
After the Texas game, the IceHogs have 5 days off. As Coach Jeremy Colliton says, that’s the time to rest. Until then, they just have to play hard.
Since there are 4 home games in the next 5 games, I’d like the IceHogs to win at least 3 of those games. In our next recap, we’ll see how they’ve done.