Let’s get this Game Day Thread on the road Wilderness! Tonight the Aero’s are taking on the Rockford IceHogs, better known as the baby Blackhawks. The Aero’s get two cracks at the Hogs, with Sunday’s game at the Excel Energy Center being against the Hogs as well. Tonight’s game starts at 7pm, and I strongly encourage everyone to follow Aero Joe on twitter for audio feed information. It’s Friday night in Texas, which means mostly likely the normal audio station (1070am KNTH) will be airing football games instead of the Aero’s game.
Today we have a bit of a treat for everyone, Greg from Second City Hockey and I are co-host game threads here and on SCH. Make sure to head over there and check out my run-down on the Aero’s, and feel free to chime in on both game threads. They are good people over there. One of my favorite parts of GDTs is getting to know the other team, and trying to figure out what to expect out of the game. Greg provided us with a run-down of some important information we should know about the Ice Hogs.
So this weekend the Rockford IceHogs and Houston Aeros are set to do battle with a pair of games. Emilie has invited me to come over and give you a look at the Blackhawks AHL affiliate before the weekend tilts. You can check out her preview of the Aeros over at Second City Hockey. Hopefully we can get some good banter going between the SCH and the HW crews over the weekend. You know the stuff we used to do when there was this thing called the NHL.
The first of the two meetings is tonight at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford, with the puck drop at 7:05. Tonight is Rockford’s Los IceHogs night which will include horrible jerseys "honoring" the Mexican culture. No, I am not making this up. Sunday night’s rematch will be at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, which will give the Wild fans a chance to see their future stars in person.
The IceHogs will welcome facing a non divisional foe this weekend since they are 1-6-0-1 within the Midwest Division this season. They are 4-1 outside of the division so watch out! Much like the Aeros, the IceHogs cannot seem to stay out of the penalty box or the principal’s office. Both squads’ special teams will get quite the workout over the next two games. The Hog’s power play and penalty kill are about middle of the road. They have scored 3 shorthanded goals so far this year.
Rockford’s roster is full of familiar names due to the NHL lockout. Former Mr. Hockey Nick Leddy is looking forward to a homecoming on Sunday. Thanks again, by the way! Jimmy Hayes, Dylan Olsen, Marcus Kruger, Brandon Saad, Jeremy Morin, Brandon Bolling, Carter Hutton, and Ben Smith all spent time with the Blackhawks last season.
Andrew Shaw will still be serving his 6 game suspension for leaving the bench during a game against Lake Erie. The only thing missing from that clip is a steel chair and Jim Ross. Shaw, Olsen, Wade Brookbank and Kyle Beach have all been suspended for at least one game this season already. I am not too happy about having the pipeline to my Blackhawks full of meatballs.
Brandon Pirri is Rockford’s leading scorer with 12 points (6G, 6A). Jeremey Morin has 5 goals and Jimmy Hayes and Kyle Beach have added 4 apiece. Captain Martin St. Pierre leads the team with 8 assists followed by Marcus Kruger with 7. Brandon Bollig has a team high 48 penalty minutes so far this year. Carter Hutton has been struggling of late between the pipes for the IceHogs. He is 4-6-0-1 with a 3.02 goals against average and a .893 save %. Those numbers are a far cry from what Hutton put up during the second half of last season.
Should be a fun weekend, I hope to see some of you guys stop by at SCH and mix it up.
I’m really excited for this two game series. Not only do I get to watch the up-and-comers of my two favorite hockey teams, but Sunday marks the first time I (and hopefully lots of other people) will be able to watch pro-hockey at the Excel since April. It may not be the Wild, but it will suffice for now.
- The Aero’s offense has been on fire, scoring 4 or more goals in 9 out of their 14 games. Do they put on another great performance? How many pretty/dirty goals do we get?
- On the flip side, apparently there is another position to play in hockey besides forward. The Aero’s have forgotten that defense exists, and have allowed 4 or more goals in 7 of their 14 games. Has Torchy gotten through to the struggle defensemen? Why are they playing so horribly when some of them have shown they can handle the pressure of the NHL? (Yes, I am talking to you Scandella)
- Rockford has been a penalty machine so far this season, much like the Aero’s. What is the penalty situation after tonight’s game? Any good fights?
- It’s been really hard to tell how Hackett and Keumper have been playing. With the defense being so horrible, the goalies are taking more shots than they should, on top of getting little to no help in front of the net. Do either of the two shine through tonight?
- It’s been a toss-up all season as to which Aero has a stellar game. Zucker took the last one, but a number of other guys including Coyle, Genoway, and McIntyre have shown that have some pretty impressive hockey skills. Who takes top honors tonight?
To add to the GDT question experience, I’d like to get some impute from the community. What kinds of questions do you guys want answered? Any questions, as long as they relate to the Aero’s. I’ll even do my best to track down players eye colors if need be. I’d like to feature a question from someone other than me for most of the GDTs if possible.
Tonight’s random penalty statistic- Palmieri takes second prize for most PIMs on the Aero’s team, with a whopping 22 at this point. He’s averaging 1.57 PIMs a game, and his favorite penalty to take is a roughing penalty (he has 8 PIMS for roughing so far this season).