10/08/2012 3:37 PM - Mike Peck
A brief one week preseason is in the books and the IceHogs are officially getting ready for the season opener in Rosemont on Saturday against the Wolves.
Here are some quick observations from the preseason, some should hold more water than others because IT WAS JUST PRESEASON.
-The team definitely got better as the exhibition schedule went on. After giving up four goals in the first period last Wednesday against the Wolves, Rockford allowed seven tallies over their eight periods. Over the final two periods in Peoria on Saturday, the IceHogs allowed just seven shots on goal.
-Better starts needed. Again, it was just preseason, but the IceHogs came out of the gates lethargic in all three games. The Hogs trailed 4-0, 2-0 and 1-0 in their three preseason tilts.
-Penalty Kill sluggish as well. The IceHogs allowed six power play goals in three exhibition games. The upside was some aggression shown on Saturday in Peoria with a shorthanded goal in the second period and a goal just as the same penalty expired.
-Jimmy Hayes-Marcus Kruger-Brandon Saad. That line combination had some serious chemistry going on Saturday. They were a lot of fun to watch and if they are still together as a line combo this weekend, they’ll be a line that I will be keeping a close eye on.
Most importantly, the IceHogs got out of the preseason pretty unscathed from an injury standpoint. Brandon Svendsen came into camp hurt and won’t play until late November at the earliest. And two d-men (Klas Dahlbeck and Adam Clendening) got a little dinged up in the preseason, but nothing serious and neither should miss a whole lot of time.
It really is hard to read into preseason, however, as lineups are mixed with ECHL bound players and inconsistencies. On Saturday in Peoria, after a shaky first period by the IceHogs, Rockford dominated the final 40 minutes.
But Peoria’s Ian Cole, TJ Hensick, Derek Nesbitt and Scott Ford, fixtures in the Rivermen lineup this season, were all playing in their first preseason game. So there was some rust and I’m sure fitness issues that Rockford was able to take advantage of.
I’m not trying to diminish a win, but it’s time to throw the preseason in the trash, including the 6-1 thumping handed out by the Wolves last Wednesday.
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