06/01/2012 8:49 AM - A strong second half by the Rockford IceHogs was much documented in 2011-12. One of the main reasons the team had such a strong second half was because of the club’s better fortunes on home ice at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
The IceHogs christened the newly named arena on Oct. 8 with an exciting 3-2 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Opening Night. Rockford, however, wouldn’t earn another win at home until Thanksgiving Eve, a stretch of six games and 50 days.
After a 2-1 loss to the Abbotsford Heat on Dec. 3, the IceHogs home record dropped to 3-9-0-0. With the exception of a 6-3 win over San Antonio on Nov. 23 and a 7-3 win over Peoria on Nov. 25, the Hogs had a difficult time generating offense in their home barn.
Taking those two games out of the mix, Rockford was outscored 31-16 in the 11 other tilts. That’s a 1.45 goals per game clip while allowing 2.81 markers per contest.
Beginning on Dec. 9, Rockford’s luck at home would begin to turn as they knocked off the Chicago Wolves 6-3. From then on, the team would finish the regular campaign with a 15-7-0-4 (.653) record at the BMO.
Carter Hutton, in particular, was excellent at home. In 22 home appearances, all of which came after Dec. 2, the puckstopper went 13-6-0-2 with a .930 save percentage and a 1.98 goals against average.
Rockford would finish the 2011-12 campaign 18-16-0-4 at the BMO Harris Bank Center, a drastic turnaround from their .250 home winning percentage through the first 12 games.
The 2011-12 season was the second straight campaign in which Rockford struggled a bit at home. With their 19-17-2-2 mark in 2010-11, Rockford is a combined 37-33-2-6, a .526 winning percentage in downtown Rockford. Before 2010-11, Rockford’s home winning percentage was .621 (71-42-2-5) during the AHL era and .617 overall (243-144-2-3).
As the team moves into 2012-13, winning more consistently on home will be a priority. Not only does winning in your own rink please the hometown fans, it also gets you into the postseason. The six division winners in the AHL in 2011-12 (St. John’s, Bridgeport, Norfolk, Toronto, Chicago and Oklahoma City) combined for a home record of 138-69-13-8, a winning percentage of .651.
Over the next few weeks, icehogs.com will review the highlights from the 2011-12 Rockford IceHogs season with "2011-12 In Review". Check back for more features from the team’s 13th season of professional hockey in Rockford.
Season Tickets for 2012-13 Now on Sale: Season ticket packages for the IceHogs 14th season of professional hockey in Rockford, including sixth as the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, are now on sale. Call (815) 847-6399 to reserve your seats or visit icehogs.com for more information.