After a tough weekend in Charlotte, where the IceHogs lost both games, Tuesday's 1-0 victory over the checkers was a much needed win. IceHogs goaltender Drew McIntyre was excellent in goal, stopping all 30 shots while becoming the third IceHogs goalie to record a shutout this season. I will cover McIntyre more later as my IceHogs coverage continues, but today, I am concentrating on the game and Coach Ted Dent.
As you could imagine, after two games against each other in two days, these teams were a bit edgy with each other. Tough play turned into skirmishes almost right away. After a few extra-curricular battles, the referees did a nice job of preventing the game from turning into one big melee.
That's not to say the game was any less physical. Several penalties were called for overly physical play, but Charlotte also suffered from concentration lapses, being called three times for having too many men on the ice.
Despite those three big penalties, which resulted in significant minutes of five on three IceHogs advantages, the score remained 0-0 until Mark McNeill broke the tie midway through the third period. From there on, the IceHogs tried to remain in control without losing their cool for any more penalties. The IceHogs withstood several big charges by the Checkers to end the game 1-0.
The IceHogs (34-16-7-4) moved up to 79 points, while maintaining second place in the Central Division of the Western Conference. Charlotte (31-25-3-3) now have 68 points good for fourth in the Central Division.
CoachDent was in his usual good mood post-game, but he also exuded relief. While this wasn't a "must" win, it was certainly a big win for the IceHogs. Dent wasn't ecstatic with the penalties, but he was happy with the penalty kill. The IceHogs stayed tough and played cleanly when it counted the most.
There are still plenty of games left to jump on the IceHogs bandwagon. The IceHogs of today are the Blackhawks of tomorrow. This is your chance to see the future stars you'll be cheering at the United Center./ For more info and updates, head to IceHogs.com and also keep checking here for recurring coverage.
(Post-game media session video courtesy of IceHogs.com)