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.
Photo by Greg Hamil
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.