The Rockford IceHogs finished their season strongly, with a 7-1 win over the Milwaukee Admirals. Their playoff series with the Lake Erie Monsters starts Wednesday. For more info, including tickets, check out IceHogs.com.
Prior to the game, the IceHogs had a short awards ceremony. Goalie Michael Leighton was given the team MVP trophy. The Rookie of the Year award went to Vince Hinostroza. Last year's Rookie of the Year, Ville Pokka was named the Defenseman of the Year. Mike Liambas won the Heavy Hitter award. Kirill Gotovets earned the Most Improved Player award. The Unsung Hero award went to team captain Jake Dowell Leighton was also named Man of the Year. A nice video recap of all of the winners can be found at Award Winners.
Johngy's Beat won Media Outlet of the Year. Okay, I made up that last one, but I firmly believe we would have won the award if such an award existed.
The first round series starts tomorrow in Rockford. Game 2 is Thursday, also in Rockford. Games 3-5 are in Cleveland on Saturday, Monday and Thursday, the last two being if necessary.
The AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Monsters were 43-22-6-5, good for 97 points and a .638 winning percentage. The IceHogs were 40-22-10-4, good for 94 points and a .618 winning percentage. The IceHogs scored 214 goals to the 211 for the Monsters. The Hogs gave up 205, while the Monsters only let in 188. The stats are close enough to be even.
I am predicting the IceHogs take the series in four games to advance to round 2. I also predict Johngy's Beat will continue to provide coverage of the IceHogs throughout the playoffs!
Below are the 4/16 post-game media session interviews with Tyler Motte, Vince Hinostroza and Mark McNeill. The veteran, regular reporters "stole" some of my questions, but I did manage to squeeze in a question at the end of each session.
Post game media session video courtesy of IceHogs.com)