ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs have started the season with a pair of losses to the Chicago Wolves. Now, the Blackhawks AHL affiliate will head west to search for that elusive first win, going as far West as Des Moines.
Rockford is set to visit the Iowa Wild on Saturday night, and the puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. The Wild come into the match-up 1-1-1 after hosting three games with Texas to begin the 2020-21 campaign.
AHL veteran Gabriel Dumont is pacing Iowa with four points (3G, 1A) on the season. Second-year center Connor Dewar also has four points (2G, 2A). Forward Dimitry Sokolov (2G, 1A) is entering his third full season, with 15 and 16 goals the past two years.
Former IceHogs forward Joseph Cramarossa signed a one-year contract with Minnesota this past summer. The veteran forward has a goal this season to go with a fighting major so far for the Wild. Cramarossa is another experienced skater that should make an impact.
Skokie native Louie Belpedio is back for a third season on Iowa’s blueline. Also on defense for the Wild is Ian McCoshen, who spent most of last season with Rockford. Keaton Thompson is entering his fifth year in the AHL and second for Iowa. Hunter Warner is another Wild defenseman that has several seasons of experience with the team.
In goal, the Hogs will likely be facing Dereck Baribeau, who has played well in his two starts this season. He’s sporting a 1.92 GAA and a .923 save percentage. The 6-foot-6 Baribeau saw limited action with Iowa last season, playing 15 games with Allen in the ECHL.
Hunter Jones gave up seven goals to the Stars in his AHL debut on February 5. Jones is a second-round pick of the Wild in the 2019 NHL Draft.
The Week That Was
Rockford dropped a 5-2 decision to the Chicago Wolves on February 9. Despite the loss, two more rookie piglets tallied their first goals.
D.J. Busdeker pounced on the rebound of a Chad Krys one-timer and sent the puck through the wickets of Chicago goalie Jeremy Helvig. The goal tied the game in the second period before the Wolves hit for the game’s next three scores.
Midway through the third period, Chris Wilkie sent a wrist shot from the goal line near the right half boards. The puck glanced off of the leg of Helvig and into the net to cut the Wolves lead to 4-2. That’s as close as Rockford got, however. Chicago prevailed on the strength of two goals apiece from Rem Pitlick and Philip Tomasino, in addition to the third goal of the season from rookie Seth Jarvis.
On Thursday, the Blackhawks recalled defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk to the taxi squad. Kalynuk had played in both of Rockford’s first two games, posting a goal and an apple in the season opener.
In turn, Chicago assigned defenseman Anton Lindholm to the IceHogs. Lindholm had been on the taxi squad and had not appeared in a contest with the Hawks so far this season. The 26-year-old Lindholm had 164 games of AHL experience under his belt with the San Antonio Rampage and the Colorado Eagles.
Jon Fromi covers the Rockford Ice Hogs for The Sin Bin. Follow and interact with him at @SinBinIceHogs.