Down On The Farm Report: IceHogs Notch First Win, Rookies Showing Out, Prospect System Update

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Down On The Farm Report: IceHogs Notch First Win, Rookies Showing Out, Prospect System Update

Chicago Blackhawks

It took a little longer than the Blackhawks, but the Rockford IceHogs finally got their first win of the AHL season on Tuesday night, topping the Cleveland Monsters 3-2, which makes them 1-5-1 on the season.

In a year where the talent pool has been thinned-out, due to injuries on the big league team plus the addition of the Taxi Squad, the IceHogs are working with a lot of first-year players and players who wouldn’t otherwise be with the club if not for the pandemic-inspired rule changes. But every team in the AHL is dealing with it and the IceHogs are making strides forward. Now they have the confidence of moving forward with a win under their belt.

The IceHogs’ first win of the season came on the backs of four rookies, two of whom scored the first goals of their professional careers while a third got his first win as a pro goaltender. Evan Barratt and Andrei Altybarmakyan got their first pro goals, and Isaak Phillips added his second of the year to help push the IceHogs to a comeback win on Tuesday night.

Barratt is now tied with Chris Wilkie and Brad Morrison for the team-lead in points this season with four a piece. He’s tied for third on the team in shots on goal with 12 through seven games this season (Altybarmakyan is the other).

Tying the game in the third period on Tuesday, defenseman Isaak Phillips became the eighth IceHogs player to register their first professional goal this season. Phillips, a 2020 fifth-round draft pick by the Blackhawks, is supposed to be playing with the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL this season. But due to the pandemic, the OHL has not been able to have their season as normal, so Phillips is able to play with the IceHogs outside of the CHL age limit restrictions.

Phillips is part of a five-way tie for second on the team with three points this season.

Finally putting the IceHogs over the hump on Tuesday night was Russian rookie Andrei Altybarmakyan.

After standing out at the Blackhawks mini-training camp prior to the beginning of the season, Altybarmakyan has high expectations put on him. Having played three years of professional hockey in the KHL prior to coming to North America, the 2017 third-round pick will have to handle the transition to smaller ice in a league where the speed, and specifically the physicality, ramp up sometimes more than in the NHL. He has two points in seven games this season and had the first fight of the year for Rockford earlier this season.

Rookie goaltender Cale Morris made his first start of the season on Tuesday night and earned his first professional win over the Monsters. After making his first professional appearance on Monday night in relief of Matt Tomkins, Morris made 35 saves on 37 shots faced against Cleveland. In his two appearances this season, Morris has made 48 saves on 51 shots faced (.941).

Morris is playing with the IceHogs on an AHL contract after playing four very successful years at Notre Dame in the NCAA. He and Scott Darling are the only other goalies to start a game for Rockford this season with Tomkins having the other five starts (0-4-1). Darling was released from his PTO contract last week, leaving Morris, Tomkins and Tom Aubrun as the remaining goalies for the IceHogs.

The Rockford IceHogs will look to continue the good momentum against the same Cleveland Monsters this weekend, traveling for back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland. The IceHogs then return home for a four-game homestand starting on Wednesday, March 3 against the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Outside of the AHL, let’s take a quick trip and get a stats update around the Blackhawks prospect system:

North America

•   Landon Slaggert (Notre Dame) – 20 GP: 5 goals, 11 assists, 16 points

•   Josiah Slavin (Colorado College) – 20 GP: 5 goals, 7 assists, 12 points

•   Wyatt Kaiser (Minnesota-Duluth) – 22 GP: 0 goals, 9 assists, 9 points

•   Slava Demin (Denver) – 17 GP: 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points

•   Josh Ess (Wisconsin) – 24 GP: 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points

•   Alex Vlasic (Boston) – 11 GP: 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points

•   Jake Wise (Boston) – 2 GP: 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point

•   Louis Crevier (Chicoutimi Saguenéens) – 17 GP: 1 goal, 6 assists, 7 points

•   Drew Commesso (Boston) – 6 GP: 5-1-0, .917 save percentage, 3.08 GAA

•   Dominic Basse (Colorado College) – 16 GP: 4-10-1, .900 save percentage, 2.99 GAA


•   Antti Saarela (Ilves – Liiga) – 35 GP: 4 goals 6 assists, 10 points

•   Jakub Galvas (Jukurit – Liiga) – 32 GP: 2 goals, 7 assists, 9 points

•   Niklas Nordgren (HIFK/Pelicans – Liiga) – 4 GP: 0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points

•   Roope Laavainen (KalPa – Liiga) – 14 GP: 0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points

•   Lukas Reichel (Eisbären Berlin – DEL) – 18 GP: 6 goals, 8 assists, 14 points

•   Victor Ejdsell (Färjestad BK – SHL) – 43 GP: 10 goals, 17 assists, 27 points


•   Parker Foo (Kunlun Red Star) – 32 GP: 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points

•   Maxim Shalunov (CSKA Moskow) – 50 GP: 17 goals, 17 assists, 34 points

•   Artur Kayumov (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl) – 55 GP: 12 goals, 17 assists, 29 points

•   Ivan Nalimov (Dinamo Riga) – 14 GP: 2-11-0, .877 save percentage, 3.58 GAA

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.