There will not be any playoff hockey for the Blackhawks organization this season.
The Rockford IceHogs, the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, were eliminated from Calder Cup Playoffs contention Saturday night with a 3-0 loss to the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
Mason Shaw, Gerald Mayhew and Will Bitten scored for Iowa, and Nate Prosser had two primary assists. Andrew Hammond made 25 saves for the shutout.
Anton Forsberg allowed all three Iowa goals at even strength.
The IceHogs started the season with Jeremy Colliton at the helm before he was promoted to the Blackhawks in November following the firing of Joel Quenneville. Assistant coach Derek King was promoted to the head coaching job in an interim role then assistant coach Sheldon Brookbank was promoted to the same role with the Blackhawks in January and development coach Anders Sorenson filled in for Brookbank.
Rockford lost its top scorer in Matthew Highmore early in the season due to a shoulder injury that saw him miss five months. Dylan Sikura was called up to the NHL, and he had no goals and eight assists in 33 games. Losing its top two scorers along with a plethora of injuries led to Rockford being the lowest scoring team in the AHL.
It’s the second time in the last three seasons Rockford has missed the playoffs. After back-to-back postseason appearances in 2015 and 2016, the IceHogs didn’t qualify for the playoffs in 2017 and fired head coach Ted Dent and hired Colliton. In only one season, Colliton guided the team to the Western Conference Final with the help of some late additions from the NHL after the Blackhawks were eliminated from playoff contention.
The IceHogs close out their season against the Admirals at 6 p.m. Sunday at BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford.