During the NHL Lockout, the AHL was where some of the best hockey was to be seen. Many NHLers played in the league and while some enjoyed being able to still collect a paycheck, others did not and complained about the ice conditions and sparse crowds.
With the NHL beginning the season yesterday, two AHL teams decided to claim stake to hockey headlines one more time. The Grand Rapids Griffins visited the Rockford IceHogs Saturday night and the two teams combined for 17 goals and 230 penalty minutes. The Griffins won the game 11-6, which was the first time 11 goals scored in an AHL game since since Chicago put up 11 against Peoria on Dec. 30, 2005, and the first team to score 11 on the road since Providence (14-2 over Syracuse) on Nov. 25, 1998. More remarkable was Mitch Callahan being the only player to score more than one goal; 15 players combined for the 17 goals. Callahan of Grand Rapids came into the game with two goals all season, scored a hat trick.
The brawl got started when Rockford trailed 6-3 after Landon Ferraro scored the teams third power play goal at 11:54 of the second period. On the ensuing face-off, Rockford’s Kyle Beach and Grand Rapids’ Riley Sheahan squared off after having five straight penalties called against them in the second period. After that, players started squaring off with each other. Even the goalies got involved when Rockford goalie Carter Hutton skated the ice to take on counterpart Petr Mrazek. After it was all said and done, 13 players from both sides were ejected from the game as the brawl consumed 192 penalty minutes. Ironically, Rockford stayed out of the penalty box for the rest of the game and Grand Rapids took two minor penalties in the third period.
The minor affiliates of Chicago (Rockford) and Detroit (Grand Rapids) will meet again on the ice February 22 in Rockford. In the mean time check out the video from the benches-clearing brawl here. Don’t mind Rockford’s pink uniforms, it was Pink in the Rink night at BMO Harris Bank Center.