ROCKFORD — About 24 hours after the Blackhawks notched their sixth consecutive win, their AHL affiliate the Rockford IceHogs matched their win streak with a 3-1 home victory over the Tucson Roadrunners at BMO Harris Bank Center.
Jacob Nilsson scored a power-play goal and had a primary assist, while Anthony Louis and Luke Johnson also scored. Kevin Lankinen made 23 saves.
The win moves Rockford into a playoff spot in fourth place in the Western Conference’s Central Division at 54 points. The IceHogs will look to add to that total Saturday night, when they host the Roadrunners again.
Interim head coach Derek King has guided the IceHogs to a 17-16-5 record since taking over the team after Jeremy Colliton was promoted to the Blackhawks.
King has seen players go back and forth between his club and the Blackhawks, including his top goaltender in Collin Delia, and even one of his assistant coaches in Shelton Brookbank. Despite having to continually shuffle his lineup and bring Anders Sorenson into the fold as an assistant, King has his team rolling.
The penalty kill has held opponents to a 17.4 percent success rate, while the offense has found success with a recent surge from Johnson and defenseman Darren Raddysh. Add in the contributions from Nilsson and Dylan Sikura, who have both played at the NHL level this season, and the IceHogs are rounding into form.
All signs are pointing to Rockford trending in the right direction to make a return trip to the playoffs after a historic run to the Western Conference Finals a year ago.