After dropping their first two games of the season to the Chicago Wolves, the Rockford IceHogs (0-2-0-0) look for their first win against the Iowa Wild on Saturday.
The Wild, the Minnesota Wild's AHL affiliate, head into Saturday's contest with a 1-1-1-0 record. The Wild played all three games against the Texas Stars to start the season. Tim Army coaches the club and the roster consists of mostly young talent, complemented by one NHL veteran that has accomplished quite a bit.
In February 2015, as a member of the Colorado Avalanche, defenseman Cody McLeod had more penalty minutes than playing time and earned the game's first star. McLeod piggybacked a fight earlier in the team's matchup with the Dallas Stars by dropping the gloves with Jason Demers. It created quite the scramble and resulted in multiple penalties for both teams. McLeod ended up having 30 total penalty minutes with just under nine minutes of ice time and four shots. Colorado won the game 4-1.
Iowa has a -2 goal differential so far this season. The Wild's scoring attack is lead by forward Gabriel Dumont, who has three goals and an assist. His three tallies are second in the AHL behind Wolves' forward Seth Jarvis. Second on the team is Connor Dewar, who has a pair of goals and assists so far in 2021.
The Wild are also getting back-end production from Calen Addison. The young defenseman has three assists and is a +5 on the ice in three games. Addison was originally a second-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was dealt to Minnesota in February 2020 with Alex Galchenyuk in exchange for Jason Zucker.
The Wild feature a three goalie rotation, with Dereck Baribeau, Joel Rumpel, and Hunter Jones sharing time. Dereck Baribeau had a stellar career in the QMJHL, creating a lot of hype in the Wild's system. Joel Rumpel is on a PTO contract for the AHL Wild, just as Scott Darling is for Rockford. Hunter Jones was Minnesota's second-round pick in 2019. In his last outing, he faced 44 shots and allowed seven goals against Texas.
Statistically, the Wild are more of an even match for the IceHogs than Chicago was. That being said, Iowa has some scoring potential up their sleeve. Tyler Sheehy was awarded the ECHL's Rookie of the Year Award last season after recording 66 points in 47 games. Adam Beckman played for Spokane in the WHL in 2019-2020 and had three hat tricks while setting a record by scoring in ten consecutive games.
If you're searching for the muscle, the Wild have Joseph Cramarossa, Brandon Duhaime, and Fedor Gordeev. Cramarossa lead the AHL in fighting majors last season with eight, Duhaime compiled 71 penalty minutes last year while leading rookies in fighting majors with seven, and Gordeev is 6-foot-7 and 240 lbs., adding plenty of size to the Wild blue line.
Saturday's puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 PM CT inside Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. Rockford is searching for their first point(s) of the season. Listen to the game live on IceHogs.com or watch with a subscription on AHL TV.