Mark McNeil scored the lone goal Tuesday night as the Rockford IceHogs shutout the Charlotte Checkers 1-0. It was his 20th of the season and arguably the most important so far.
McNeill was drafted in the first round (#18 overall) by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Aside for one game with the Hawks this season, McNeill has played with the Rockford IceHogs since the draft.
After his first season of 5 games, McNeill scored 18 goals with 19 assists and followed that with 23 goals and 21 assists. At 20 and 18 with several games remaining, McNeill is within striking distance of last season's numbers.
More important to McNeill is helping the IceHogs advance in the AHL playoffs. That is the short term goal. Longer term, obviously, he wants to be a part of the Blackhawks quest for another Stanley Cup. At just 23, McNeill seems to have a bright future.
I repeat the mantra that the IceHogs of today are the Blackhawks of tomorrow. One prime example of that is McNeill. Catch him now in Rockford, before he heads to the United Center for good.
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(Post-game media session video courtesy of IceHogs.com)