The IceHogs look to shake off the memories of an 0-2 weekend tonight as they take on the Peoria Rivermen. This will be the 2nd meeting of the year between the two division rivals, with the Rivermen winning 2-1 in Peoria on October 19th. The victory is one of only two regulation wins for Peoria so far this season. The Hogs and the Rivermen come into tonight's game as the bottom two teams in the Midwest Division standings.
Peter Leblanc scored the only IceHogs goal in the first game versus Peoria, his only one of the season. Brandon Pirri, Rockford's leading scorer with 11 points (6 G, 5 A), and Andrew Shaw, who is still serving his six game suspension, assisted on the tally. Carter Hutton stopped 32 of 34 shots and was the only reason the Hogs didn't lose by four or five goals. Hutton did not play in Rockford's last game versus Milwaukee so he will be getting the start in net tonight.
Brandon Saad has scored a goal and added an assist in his two games back from injury. Nick Leddy also returned to action last Friday. Both Dylan Olsen and Kyle Beach will be returning to the Hog's lineup after serving a two game and a one game suspension respectively.
Slow starts have been killing the IceHogs all season long. In fact, Rockford has given up the first goal of the game within the opening five minutes, in five out of the last seven games. Scoring first tonight would be key against a team that is lacking firepower.
The Peoria Rivermen are proof that there is a hockey hell. Not only are these guys property of the vile St Louis Blues, but they have to live in the "wonderful" city of Peoria! The Rivermen come in with a record of 2-7-2-1 and have only scored 22 goals in those 12 games. Losing to this team at home should only make the Blackhawks top brass think about making a switch behind the bench.
Derek Nesbitt and Anthony Peluso are tied for the team lead with four goals each. TJ Hensick leads the Rivermen with nine assists and twelve points. Jake Allen has spent the majority of the time between the pipes for Peoria this year. He has only two wins, with a 3.47 goals against average and a .888 save % in ten starts. This was the same goalie that only gave up one goal on 29 shots versus the IceHogs. The first meeting of the year included three fights so look for the meatball brigade of Beach and Brandon Bollig to get involved tonight.
If you can make it to the BMO Harris Bank Center, tonight would be a good night to make the trip, as it is part of the Dollar Days promotion. Fans can get hot dogs, beers and a companion ticket for just a buck apeice. Tonight is also a night that the state troopers on I-90 rack up the DUI points so be careful.