After connecting for the second goal IceHogs goal of the 2018-19 season a game ago (Oct. 6 at CLE), the brotherly combo of Tyler and Dylan Sikura put on a display early into Opening Night (Oct. 13 vs. Texas) to give the IceHogs a 1-0 lead. Dylan grabbed his first pro goal and the game-winning tally later that evening to help the Hogs to a 5-3 win. Dylan would finish the season tied for first among AHL rookies with six-game winning tallies.
Holding on to a 2-1 advantage after two periods, forward Luke Johnson rifled in his second goal of the season 5:13 into the final frame to guide the IceHogs to a 3-2 win over Chicago. The win was the IceHogs’ second of a season-opening three-game winning streak at Allstate Arena. Of the overall 6-5-1-0 head-to-head record vs. Chicago last season, the IceHogs went 4-1-1 in Rosemont, IL.
Is there a better way to head into the Holiday break than with a some overtime action? I think not. The IceHogs saw 3-1 and 4-3 leads over the Wolves slip away in the second and third period to force their 12th of an AHL-leading 26th OT skate and their sixth bout of extra hockey over an eight-game stretch (Dec. 2 to Dec. 21). Of the eight goals defenseman Darren Raddysh scored with the IceHogs, three came in OT (finished tied for team lead with Dylan Sikura).
The IceHogs finished the 2018-19 season with only two shorthanded goals to their credit (Tied for last in the AHL with Texas) and only one beating a goaltender (Matthew Highmore swiped in a shorthanded empty-netter on Oct. 24 vs. San Antonio). Down 2-1 to Texas late in the second period and on the penalty kill, forward Nathan Noel seized his moment...
Trailing 2-0 after the opening period in Grand Rapids, the IceHogs battled back in the second and third periods with tallies from Joni Tuulola and Jordan Schroeder to set up yet another overtime appearance for the Hogs. Having defeated the Griffins twice in previous OT meetings, the Hogs rattled off an impressive six shots in the the extra skate (tied for season-high marks with two other OT appearances) including this buzzer-beater from Luke Johnson.
Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan hasn’t been kind to the IceHogs over the years. Heading into this showdown on March 15, the Griffins earned points against the IceHogs in eight-straight contests on home ice dating back to the previous season. After winning the puck battle below the attacking goal line, Tyler Sikura and William Pelletier found Andreas Martinsen to open the scoring en route to a 3-2 win in regulation time, the Hogs' first regulation win in Grand Rapids since December 8, 2017 (only regulation win at GR in 2017-18 year).
Facing a must-win situation against a red-hot Milwaukee Admirals bunch (eight-game winning streak, 11-game point streak), the IceHogs kept their postseason push alive with their league-tying 12 overtime victory (Toronto finished the season with a dozen OT wins also). Down 3-2 in the third period, Dylan Sikura turned the momentum around with the game-tying tall early in the frame and provided the game-winner in extra time.
Fun Fact: This is the second of two times during the season and head-to-head series vs. Milwaukee the same player tied and won the game – Darren Raddysh scored the game-tying and game-winning OT goal at Milwaukee on November 2.