After a penalty-filled (111 PIMs) slugfest on Wednesday night, the Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks) will once again host the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) tonight in what is quickly becoming one of the most tense rivalries in the AHL’s Midwest Division.
The Griffins earned a 6-3 victory on Wednesday, helped along by two goals from Riley Sheahan. Landon Ferraro, Tomas Tatar, Jeff Hoggan and Brent Raedeke also added goals for Grand Rapids, converting on two of their nine power play chances. Gustav Nyquist added three assists as only five Griffins players failed to register at least one point in the game. Petr Mrazek got the win in net, making 27 saves for his 13th victory this season. In five meetings this season, the Griffins have managed nine points, with four wins and a shootout loss. They now have a seven point lead over the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators) in the division.
The IceHogs were without Andrew Shaw, Nick Leddy, Kyle Beach and Marcus Kruger due to Blackhawks training camp opening soon. Veteran defenseman Brett Lebda scored, as did Peter Leblanc and Jeremy Morin. Both Carter Hutton and Alec Richards have struggled in net against the Griffins this season, but with Hutton allowing six goals Wednesday, tonight’s start should go to Richards. He is 4-4 on the season.
If tensions boil over from Wednesday, this could be another epic tilt. Rockford ranks near the top of the league in penalty minutes and these two division rivals seem to genuinely not like each other–minor league hockey at its finest.