After starting December with 4 straight wins to bring their record to 15-9-1-0, the Rockford IceHogs have dropped 3 straight, leaving their record at 15-11-1-1. With 32 points and a winning percentage of .571, the IceHogs are in 3rd place in the Central Division and 7th place in the conference.
The streaky IceHogs keep bouncing up and down in the standings. They have had win streaks of 4, 3 and 4, but they have also had losing streaks of 4 and 3, including the current skid. The positive is that they are good enough to put together those win streaks. Obviously, the negative is that they slump into losing streaks.
They have 5 more games in 2017. Friday night, they have a home game against the Chicago Wolves, followed by another home game against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday. On December 28, they start a 3 games in 3 nights stretch, beginning with traveling to Iowa, followed by hosting the Wild, followed by traveling to Chicago. On the plus side, the “trips” are not very far.
Jeff Glass has started 7 of the last 8 games in goal. Over that stretch he has had a 91.7% save percentage, which is slightly skewed by the 8 goals that Manitoba scored in the first game. That’s fairly solid.
On the other hand, in 7 of their last 8 losses, the IceHogs have scored 1 or less goals. That type of offense will not win many games. Conversely, in their last 10 wins, they have scored 42 goals.
Also lagging has been their powerplay. Over one recent span of 82 powerplay opportunities, they had only converted 4 (4.9%). That simply is not good enough.
The answer is obvious. The IceHogs need to score more consistently. How to get to that answer is a challenge that Coach Jeremy Colliton is furiously trying to meet.
For the time being, as the IceHogs head to their last few games of 2017, they are fairly comfortably above .500 and in a playoff spot. If the IceHogs can gain a little offensive consistency, things could get really interesting.