[Last Season Lookback hits the highlights of each month from the 2018-19 season. Below are the key storylines from the respective month, milestones hit by individual players or the full team, standout stats and a quotable takeaway. Check back each week as we delve into the full seven-month season]. October | November | December
LAST SEASON LOOKBACK: JANUARY, 2019
*NEW YEAR’S HANGOVER
Despite picking up some momentum through the end of December and the 2018 calendar year, the Rockford IceHogs slumped into a New Year’s hangover with losses in six of the first seven games of 2019. The overall snapshot of the full month wasn’t much prettier, unfortunately, as Rockford finished January with its worst record of any month during the 2018-19 campaign. The Hogs went 4-6-1-0, tallied a season-high six-game losing streak from Dec. 26 – Jan. 4 and did not win back-to-back games until the final two contests in January.
If there’s a silver lining, Rockford played most of its opponents close during the month. Only one of the team’s seven total losses was by more than two goals. This was largely thanks to impressive goaltending from the duo of Anton Forsberg and Kevin Lankinen, who each posted better than a 2.50 GAA and .910 save percentage during the month.
With Collin Delia in Chicago, defenseman Andrew Campbell served as the IceHogs’ lone representative at the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic. Campbell, who was previously named the captain of the Western Conference, starred in the Skills Challenge on Sunday, finishing second in the CCM Hardest Shot event with a 99.5 MPH slap shot. His impressive blast was just shy of Lehigh Valley forward Greg Carey, whose shot clocked in at 100.4 MPH for the Eastern Conference.
The Western Conference defeated the Eastern Conference 14-7 in the Skills Challenge, while the North Division won the All-Star Classic with a shootout victory over the Atlantic Division in the championship game.
*ROSTER CHANGES PAR DUEX
The IceHogs completed their coaching shakeup for the 2018-19 season in January when Sheldon Brookbank was promoted to the Blackhawks’ staff and Anders Sorensen was promoted from IceHogs development coach to IceHogs assistant coach. In addition, the Hogs received some much-needed reinforcements on the ice with the late additions of Andreas Martinsen and Dylan Sikura. Martinsen picked up points in each of his first two games with the IceHogs and Sikura tallied points in each of his first three appearances.
The two skaters went on to win team awards with Rockford for the 2018-19 campaign. Martinsen collected his second consecutive Heavy Hitter Award and Sikura took home hardware as the Hogs’ Rookie of the Year.
*Campbell Ties For 74th in Games Played
Andrew Campbell skated in his 694th AHL game during the final game of the month, which tied for 74th all-time in career AHL games played. With the feat, no other play stood between Campbell and becoming the 75th player to reach 700 AHL games.
*McArdle Makes First Start, Tallies First AHL Point
Roscoe native Josh McArdle made his first career AHL start and picked up his first AHL point with an assist Jan. 25 vs. Manitoba at the BMO Harris Bank Center. McArdle inked an AHL deal with Rockford on June 28 and is the first alumnus of Rockford's Youth Hockey Program to sign and play with the IceHogs.
Jordan Schroeder picked up an assist on the power play on Jan. 11 at Texas. With the helper, Schroeder had tallied more than half of his 20 total points while on the power play, with 11 total power-play points, four PPGs and seven PP assists, each of which led the team at the time.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH:
9 games: 8 points (3g, 5a) | +2 rating
Sikura led the team in overall scoring and shared the team lead in assists with five helpers. Even more impressively, he accomplished the feat despite skating in just nine of the IceHogs’ 11 games during the month.
Assistant Coach Anders Sorensen (on his specialty behind the bench)
“Definitely playing with the puck, you know I encourage guys to make place when the puck is on their stick and trying to develop that side of their game. Obviously, the defending part is a huge part of becoming a pro but also being able to make a play under pressure, so I like that part of (coaching).”