Sunday notebook: IceHogs looking to make noise in Central

Photo: Todd Reicher

Patrick Williams, Features Writer

The Rockford IceHogs came into this season looking to make some noise.

They have tasted a bit of postseason success, winning first-round Calder Cup Playoff series each of the last two years. Forwards David Gust and Brett Seney, both AHL All-Stars last season, returned to form an experienced core. So did forward Joey Anderson, a pick-up at the NHL trade deadline last February. Goaltending prospect Drew Commesso opted to forgo his senior season at Boston University and turn pro, joining second-year pro Jaxson Stauber in the IceHogs crease.

And with the parent Chicago Blackhawks adding several veterans to the NHL roster in the offseason, the organization had the opportunity to give prospects more time in Rockford. One of those is forward Cole Guttman, who had spent the final two months of last season in the AHL after a strong first half with Rockford. He started this season in the NHL with the Blackhawks before joining the IceHogs on Oct. 20.

Another one is defenseman Filip Roos, who played 17 NHL games last season for Chicago. Defenseman Nolan Allan, who went to the Blackhawks as a 2021 first-round pick, is starting his pro career with Rockford. So is forward Ryder Rolston, who played three seasons at Notre Dame; he is the son of long-time NHL forward Brian Rolston. Forward Mike Hardman is looking to bounce back this season with the IceHogs after a strong rookie campaign in 2021-22, and forwards Colton Dach and Marcel Marcel made their AHL debuts in Saturday’s 4-3 win at Manitoba.

Winners of three in a row, the IceHogs (4-2-0-0) go for the sweep this afternoon at Canada Life Centre when they tangle with the Moose again.

In between swapping talent with the parent Calgary Flames, the Calgary Wranglers just keep winning.

With the Flames trying to work their way out of a slow start, the Wranglers lost top forward Connor Zary on recall to the NHL club this week. Zary, who had points in each of his first six AHL games this season (one goal, nine assists), went right into Flames head coach Ryan Huska’s lineup, playing 16:11 and delivering a goal in his debut against Dallas on Wednesday. Forward Martin Pospisil was then recalled and also scored in his NHL debut, helping the Flames to a win in Seattle on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, the Wranglers remain the lone AHL team without a regulation loss this season at 6-0-1-0 after Friday’s 1-0 win over San Jose. Matthew Coronato, the Flames’ first-round draft pick in 2021, scored the only goal of the game in his AHL debut, and Dustin Wolf earned his first shutout of the season with 27 saves.

Calgary hosts the Barracuda again this afternoon.

Raphael Lavoie left the Edmonton Oilers no choice. Coming off a 25-goal performance with the Bakersfield Condors last season, the 23-year-old forward made a strong impression at Edmonton’s training camp, but was assigned to Bakersfield to start the season. He proceeded to put up seven points in five games and earned Howies Hockey Tape/AHL Player of the Week honors, prompting a recall by the Oilers this weekend.

A 2019 second-round draft pick, Lavoie made his NHL debut on Saturday afternoon in Edmonton’s meeting with Nashville.

Bakersfield still came out OK in the roster swap as defenseman Philip Broberg was sent to the AHL in return. Broberg, 22, went eighth overall in the 2019 NHL Draft and played eight games with the Oilers to begin this season. He picked up an assist in his Condors season debut last night.

Riley Tufte came to Colorado to make an impression, and he has.

After signing with the Avalanche in the offseason, the fifth-year pro is tied for the AHL lead with nine goals in eight games for the Colorado Eagles, including his first career hat trick in a 5-3 win over Ontario on Friday night. He also made his Avs debut on Wednesday against St. Louis.

A first-round pick by the Dallas Stars in 2016, Tufte scored a personal-best 19 goals in 63 games last season.

Opportunity has opened up on the Hartford Wolf Pack roster.

Injuries to defenseman Adam Fox and forward Filip Chytil, along with a “banged-up” goalie Igor Shesterkin, prompted the Rangers to recall Jonny Brodzinski, Connor Mackey and Louis Domingue from Hartford in advance of their game in Minnesota on Saturday.

Up from Cincinnati (ECHL), defenseman Zach Berzolla scored a goal in his Wolf Pack debut during Saturday’s 3-2 win in Utica. Dylan Garand stopped 31 shots.

The Charlotte Checkers made it a perfect homestand, and Gerry Mayhew helped to lead the way.

Mayhew scored overtime goals on back-to-back nights as Charlotte staged a pair of third-period rallies to sweep a weekend set from San Diego. On Friday, Lucas Carlsson scored with 3.1 seconds left in regulation to force OT.

The Checkers, who were 4-0-0-0 on their homestand, start a four-game trip to the West Coast next Friday at San Jose.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins added help on the back end by bringing in NHL veteran Mark Pysyk on a professional tryout.

The move provides Pysyk an opportunity to get ample ice time after he missed all of last season with a torn Achilles’ tendon. He went to training camp in September with the parent Pittsburgh Penguins.

Pysyk, 31, has played 521 games in the NHL, including 68 with Buffalo in 2021-22.