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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Saturday nights all right for fighting in Toronto

It was fighting and fighting and fighting some more in Toronto as the Rockford IceHogs met the Toronto Marlies in a game that featured half as many fights as goals. The Hogs acquitted themselves well, however, bringing home a 6-3 win in the contest at the Ricoh Coliseum.

Jack Skille and Kyle Rogers started the roughhousing with roughing penalties just 1:23 into the game. Evan Brophey found Justin Pogge's five hole for the first goal at 8:44. At 10:57 Mike Radja completed a series of fast back and forth passes to put it past Pogge for a 2-0 score. Then Jake Dowell and Darryl Boyce danced for a five minute penalty at the 11 minute mark. And at 13:23, not a fight, but a disagreement? A high sticking penalty to Niklas Hjalmarsson and a slashing penalty to Ben Ondrus.

That wasn't going to satisfy the blood lust, so Mike Brennan and Kris Newbury went at it mano to mano for another five minutes in the sin bin, with a minor tacked on to Newbury. That gave Rockford a power play and Judd Blackwater used the opportunity to pound in the 3-0 goal.

The second frame, Dowell starts out with a double minor for high sticking. And now Toronto Center Tim Stapleton, using one of his ten shots on goal, chips it in to make it 3-1. This is interesting to try to figure out, Dowell's double means the advantage was 5:4. But then there was an interference called on Mark Bell making it 4:4. However Tim Hambly is caught holding the stick, making it 4:3, then there is a goal, which would cut Dowell's double by two minutes, but it is still 4:3 for... Oh god, this is higher math at this point. In any case there is yet another power play goal scored at 7:12. So, the Marlie advantage lasted at least that long.

Let's celebrate that with a fight. At the 7:12 mark of the second period there's Jordan Hendry, he gets two minutes for cross-checking and two minutes for roughing. And there's Pete MacArthur, we haven't heard from him yet, five for fighting. And Newbury, two for roughing and Darryl Kronwall, five for fighting. Is anyone watching the score? It's 3-2 Rockford.

An interference called on Bates Battaglia gives Rockford another power play and Niklas Hjalmarsson will use that to push the IceHog lead back to 4-2. That's a good reason to fight of course and this time it was Dan Bertram and Joe Ryan at the 17:09 mark. But wait! There's more! One more goal in the period, Blackwater. Blackwater? He just joined the team on the 29th and he already has three goals. What gives? Where has he been?

Final period of play. The Hogs lead 5-2. Toronto lights it up, firing 11 shots on goal in the period. At the 12:21 mark the discipline that had marked this period breaks down as Rob Klinkhammer and Jaime Sifers have a go and get five each. Now, consider that this is the final fight of the game. This isn't a series of enforcer fights, its each team on each team:

Skille Rogers Two minutes each roughing
Dowell Boyce Five minutes each for fighting
Hjalmarsson Ondrus High Sticking/ Slashing two minutes
Brennan Newbury Five minutes each for fighting
Dowell --- Double minor for high sticking
Hendry Two minutes for cross checking/ two minutes for roughing
Newbury Two minutes for roughing
MacArthur Kronwall Five minutes each for fighting
Bertram Ryan Five minutes each for fighting
Klinkhammer Sifers Five minutes each for fighting

I mean look at the list. The only two players to repeat on it are Dowell and Newbury. This was quite a fight card! In total 47 minutes of penalties to the Hogs and 41 to the Marlies. The Hogs were able to get two for four on the power play. Stapleton shot an unbelievable ten shots on goal, nearly a third of the 31 total for the Marlies. He had a goal and an assist for the night.

Radja and Brent had a goal and two assists, Blackwater had two goals. Adam Pineault had three assists. Petri Kontiola had two assists. The Marlies Newbury had two assists. Corey Crawford received the win. He stopped 28 shots on goal. Pogge received the loss, he stopped 15 shots on goal.

In all of this mess, a few things stand out to me, first, ten shots on goal in a game by one player is very unusual, gotta give the man credit. The second I see is the two goals by Blackwater. Can he maintain this pace? Where is he from? After that, I'd want to consider a blue liner for the final star of the game. This was a very physical game. I'm thinking Hambly as he has an assist and was on the ice for a +/- of +2. But I'm open to other suggestions. But clearly, a defensive fight, in every sense of the word.

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