Rockford IceHogs | Week 23 Report: Hogs Enter Home Stretch in Playoff…
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Week 23 Report: Hogs Enter Home Stretch in Playoff Picture

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Rockford enters Saturday's contest searching for their seventh win against Chicago in 2019-20. It would be the first time the IceHogs have won seven games against the Wolves in a season since 2015-16 when they went 7-2-3-0 against their divisional rival. Despite a combined record of 29-21-7-0 against the Wolves since the start of the 2016-17 season, the IceHogs have yet to repeat that feat of seven victories in a single campaign. The seventh victory would also signify the securing of the Illinois Lottery Cup, which the IceHogs have not claimed since 2015-16.

The Rockford IceHogs opened the season series against the Chicago Wolves with five consecutive victories for the first time in team history (previous record was three games to open the series). The five-game win streak was also the team's overall longest win streak against the Wolves in team history, surpassing the previous record of four straight victories against Chicago from Nov. 20 - Dec. 27, 2009. Rockford's five-game streak was the fifth-longest win streak against any AHL opponent in team history, trailing only Toronto (6 wins), Iowa (8 games), Grand Rapids (8 games) and Milwaukee (9 games).

The IceHogs have limited the Wolves to two or fewer goals in 10 of the last 15 matchups. That stretch includes five of nine games this season and five of the last six games of the 2018-19 season between the two clubs, dating to Dec. 29, 2018. In that span, Rockford is 9-4-2-0 against Chicago and has outscored it's cross-state rival 41-35.

Forward Gabriel Gagne was released from his professional tryout agreement on March 9 and subsequently signed a standard player contract (SPC) with the club for the remainder of this season as well as the 2020-21 campaign. Gagne notched an assist in the IceHogs' most recent contest on March 8 and now boasts five points (2g, 3a) across his last six appearances. In total, Gagne has compiled 12 points (6g, 6a) in 21 games with Rockford this season after dishing an assist in three matchups with the Ontario Reign in December.

From the IceHogs' season-opener on Oct. 4 through Dec. 20, the IceHogs held an overall record of 17-10-0-1 and reached as high as second place in the Central Division. However, from Dec. 21 through Feb. 1, Rockford won just three matchups, going 3-14-1-1 in that span and falling to sixth place in the division. But, the club has since righted the ship by winning nine of their last 16 since Feb. 4, jumping into a tie for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division.

Collin Delia stopped each of the 34 shots he faced on Friday to earn his third shutout of the season and fourth of his professional career. He’s the first IceHogs goaltender to register three or more shutouts in a season since Michael Leighton blanked opposing teams five times in both 2014-15 and again in 2015-16. Delia is just the fifth netminder in IceHogs AHL history to record three or more shutouts in a season (Leighton, Hutton, Toivanen, Crawford). Since his slow 2-5 start to the season, Delia is 14-8-0-1 with a 2.25 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage, dating to Dec. 3.

The IceHogs fell to the Chicago Wovles in overtime on Sunday after being leading 1-0 heading into the first intermission. Rockford boasts a record of 12-3-2-0 this season when leading after the opening frame but is just 10-13-0-2 when tied after one and 7-14-0-0 when trailing after one for a combined 17-27-0-2 when entering the first intermission tied or trailing.

Next Home Game: Wednesday, March 18 vs. Milwaukee Admirals | 7 p.m.
Join the Hogs for the last Dog Days matchup of the season on Wednesday, March 18. Bring your dog to the game for just $2 and your pup could be chosen to be in the dog show during the first intermission. Hot dogs will be on sale for $2 and select craft beer will be available for $5. Additionally, the first 1,500 fans in the building will receive a drawstring backpack, courtesy of Rock River Valley Blood Bank. Get your tickets HERE, at the BMO Harris Bank Center Box Office or by calling (815) 968-5222.