On Valentine's Day, the over 5,000 fans, who braved the cold and snow, showed plenty of love for NHL veteran Bryan Bickell as he scored two of the four goals in the Icehogs 4-2 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins. Bickell actually came pretty close to a hat trick.
The IceHogs trailed the Griffins 2-0 midway through the first period. With 3:13 left in the first period, Bickell beat Griffins goaltender Jared Coreau to cut the lead and seemingly shift the momentum.
After Ryan Hartman tied the score at 2 with the only goal in the second period, Bickell scored again 5:04 into the third period to give the IceHogs the lead, which they never relinquished. Mark McNeill added a goal later to bring the score to 4-2.
In the second period, there was some confusion over a near goal by Bickell and in the third period, he did not get a chance to score on the empty net after the Griffins pulled Coreau.
Bickell met the press in the post-game media session. He talked about his play, the two goals and the almost third one.
I applaud Bickell for what he is doing and how he is acting. A veteran of three Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks teams in eight NHL seasons, Bickell has taken his assignment to Rockford with class. His goal is to get back to the Hawks, but for now it is to help the IceHogs. He is doing the second and I believe he will accomplish the first. He has been a real pro.
A Bickell hat trick would have been nice, but the win was the important thing. The IceHogs are in a battle for position in the Central Division of the Western Conference. The IceHogs have clinched a playoff spot though. There is still plenty of hockey to play.
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(Post-game video interview courtesy of IceHogs.com)