The Rockford IceHogs have six regular season games left with some newcomers to help the postseason push. Vincent Hinostroza and Tanner Kero, the latest additions to Ted Dent's roster, have traded their college hockey equipment for NHL entry level contracts, and they're eager to show off their skills in the AHL.
"I think down the road, my speed and vision is really going to come into play," says Hinostroza, a Notre Dame product. "I need to work on my D-zone play a little bit away from the puck, but I think my offensive side is really going to help."
"I think my skating is one of my strongest assets, I can push the pace a little bit and use my speed to get around defense and create offense," says Michigan Tech's Kero. "I can also do well defensively, play as a two-way forward, go hard on the back check, try to turn pucks over and create chances on the offensive end."
The timing couldn't be better as they join the IceHogs with the playoffs right around the corner.
"Yeah it's exciting, you can tell they're all fired up in there. Clinching the playoffs this early is great for the team...to be a part of it is really exciting."
As the transition to a new tempo continues, Ted Dent offers this piece of advice: "Just be yourself, have fun and absorb everything, enjoy the experience, do what you do best, and play your game."
Hinostroza is a Bartlett, Illinois native, while Kero arrives from Hancock, Michigan. The Midwesterners are no strangers to their surroundings.
"Yeah it helps a lot, I played with (Stephen) Johns at Notre Dame so we kept in touch, I also know a lot of the Chicago guys like Broadhurst and Hartman, we all played together so it's great to be back with them."
"A few of my family friends are Red Wings fans growing up, so they're going to have to convert over hopefully, but the Blackhawks organization has been great, a big history there, so it's exciting to be a part of it."
Rockford's fresh faces are ready to make a strong first impression with the city's first postseason games in five years on the horizon.