The Houston Aeros skate against the Rockford IceHogs at Xcel Energy Center today at 5 p.m. It will be the second time in three nights these teams have met, with the IceHogs edging out the Aeros, 2-1, on Friday in Rockford.
The team practiced here yesterday and you could tell that the players were excited about playing in the State of Hockey.
Fourteen players on the Aeros roster skated with the Wild at some point last season and all have skated at the Xcel Energy Center at some point in their careers, either during the summer months during Development Camp or Training Camp. This group includes Jason Zucker, who has 12 points (7-5=12). He is tied for the team lead with Mikael Granlund (4-8=12) and former Minnesota-Duluth Bulldog Justin Fontaine (4-8=12).
Granlund will be out of the lineup tonight with a lateral ankle sprain suffered Nov. 2 at Oklahoma City. Jonas Brodin, Chad Rau, Steven Kampfer, Jarod Palmer are also out with injuries.
With Granlund out, Zucker has been paired with Johan Larsson and Charlie Coyle on the top line. He spoke with WildTV yesterday about his linemates and playing in Minnesota.
WildTV also caught up with Coyle and Marco Scandella, who both shared their excitement about playing at Xcel Energy Center. For Coyle, it will be his first time skating in a professional hockey game on the Wild’s home ice. Scandella, as many State of Hockey fans know, skated in 63 games with the Wild last season. In 11 games with the Aeros this year, Scandella has totaled nine assists.
The IceHogs are the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks and are led by a trio of centers Brandon Pirri (6-7=13), Marcus Kruger (3-8=11) and Martin St. Pierre (3-8=11).