IceHogs prepare for 3 games in 3 nights

IceHogs face early test of endurance with three-in-three schedule

After a split last week at home for the Rockford IceHogs, another tough test faces them heading into this weekend. At 2-1-0, the IceHogs are off to a solid start this season, but will be tested as they play three games in three nights this weekend with Friday and Sunday games at home and a trip to Milwaukee on Saturday.

Friday, Oct. 20: Home vs Griffins (7 p.m. Puck Drop)

The first of 10 matchups between the two teams this season. The Grand Rapids Griffins, defending Calder Cup champions, are 2-2-0 through their first four games of the season. Fifth-year pro Turner Elson leads the Griffins in scoring with seven points through four games, but Grand Rapids has seen uneven goaltending early this year and could be exploited by the IceHogs high-scoring potential.

Saturday, Oct. 21: Away vs Admirals (6 p.m. Puck Drop)

Another AHL Central Division foe, the Admirals handed the IceHogs their first loss of the season last week in a 5-3 loss in Rockford. Now, a short trip North and the IceHogs will look to return the favor against the Admirals. Milwaukee rookie Tyler Kelleher was a killer against the IceHogs and will be a focal point again on Saturday.

Sunday, Oct. 22: Home vs Hershey (4 p.m. Puck Drop)

The first-ever meeting between the two teams will be a home game for the IceHogs. Hershey is still looking for their first win of the season with a 0-2-1 record with Parker Milner in-between the pipes for each of their first three games. Expect a change in net for Hershey moving forward.

Home cooking

The IceHogs offense has scored at least three goals in all of their first three games of the season. Six players are playing at a point-per-game pace through three games, but no other player has had a bigger impact early on than Matthew Highmore.

Highmore, an undrafted free agent signing, played four seasons with the Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL before joining the Blackhawks organization. Highmore racked up 247 points in 289 QMJHL games and helped Saint John to the QMJHL championship this past season. If his production continues at this high-pace early on, Highmore could see himself surpass Vinnie Hinostroza as the anointed first forward call-up for the Blackhawks if an injury occurs or change of scenery is needed in Chicago.

Finally, a couple of roster moves have meant some shifting on the IceHogs roster over the last week. On Wednesday, the Blackhawks assigned Forward Nathan Noel to Rockford. Noel, a teammate of Highmore with Saint John in the QMJHL, had been sidelined with an injury and stayed, on paper, on the Blackhawks’ roster. The move signals that Noel should be ready for some ice time and would be a welcomed addition to the IceHogs’ forward group.

On Thursday, the IceHogs assigned two players, Radovan Bondra and Robin Press, to the Indy Fuel of the ECHL. Bondra joined the IceHogs earlier this season after previously announcing he would return to the Prince George Cougars of the WHL. Press skated in two of the first three games for the IceHogs this year and spent most of last season with the Fuel after coming over to the Blackhawk’ organization from Djurgårdens IF of the SHL last season.

The puck drops at the BMO Harris Bank Center on Friday night at 7 p.m. when the IceHogs take on the defending Calder Cup Champion Grand Rapids Griffins.