My battles with sleep apnea and the surgery/recovery has kept me away from the Rockford IceHogs for most of this season. Is it just coincidence that the team is in last place? Seriously, I can't make the connection to me being there and the team winning, but it is kind of fun to mention it.
Anyway, I made my return to Rockford last weekend. Unfortunately, the team lost 4-0 to the Grand Rapids Griffins. My full recap is on Puck Planet at The Rockford IceHogs Continue to Lose, Continue to Learn.
The game seemed to start on a positive note, as Brandon Mashinter scored a goal early in the first period. That goal was disallowed though, because of goaltender interference. After that, the scoring was all Griffins.
Despite the shutout, the IceHogs actually played a solid game. They outshot the Griffins 37-21, but that did not translate to a win or even a goal. Still, Coach Ted Dent did not blame the call for the loss. Instead, he praised Mashinter for the shot and the team for the offensive surge.
In the post-game media session, Coach Dent compared the game to the season as a whole. They have lots of offense, but have been unable to make it count in terms of goals. At one point, the were near the top of the AHL in shots, but near the bottom in goals scored. That lopsided stat translates to more frustration than wins.
Despite being in last place, there is plenty of optimism surrounding the IceHogs and rightly so. They are using these last several games to work on drills and techniques, as individuals and as a team. These remaining games are not empty sleepfests.
There are still nine games remaining in the season. It would be nice to escape the cellar, but more important is to build on the positives and reduce the negatives as they look to next season.
Thank you to the Rockford IceHogs for their continued hospitality. Head to IceHogs.com for all things IceHogs!
(Post-game media session courtesy of IceHogs.com.)