ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)–It took a full 72 game regular season to get there, but the IceHogs are in the playoffs. Starting Wednesday night, we’ll begin to find out what this group of guys can do from here on out when they begin a three-game series against the Iowa Wild.

That playoff vibe began to kick in Sunday evening after the IceHogs clinched a postseason berth with their win in Milwaukee, nailing down the final playoff spot in the Central Division.

“You know, it came down to the wire for us, but we put ourselves in a position to control our fate there with winning that last game, so we’re ready to get going here,” said forward and team MVP Luke Philp.

“It was a stressful couple weeks,” said forward Brett Seney, ‘But we stuck with it as a group. We stayed in our locker room and just focused on ourselves and yea, we’re excited for tomorrow.”

This team came through in the clutch at the end when it needed to, so what does that say about this group of guys and their readiness for the playoffs?

“It speaks high of their character,” said head coach Ander Sorensen. “I think that it’s been like that a little bit all year. It’s been the amount of overtime games we played, or they’ve just been able to show up when it really matters.”

Some of these guys have playoff experience from last season when the Hogs swept their way through Texas in two games in the opening round. Then they lost in the next round getting swept by the eventual Calder Cup Champions the Chicago Wolves.

“I think it helps the guys that were here last year,” said Sorensen. “It helps for sure. We have some other guys who have playoff experience, so yea, we feel good about it.”

“Everything’s just ramped up (in the playoffs), said Philp. “It’s more intense. It’s heavier. The battle level is up. Just that must-win mentality is kind of in every game.”

The IceHogs are a five seed in the Central Division, but on paper they look like much more than that with the recent additions from the Blackhawks of Lukas Reichel, Joey Anderson and Alex Vlasic, the late-season acquisition of the team’s leading scorer Rocco Grimaldi, and good health throughout the rest of the roster. Plus, goaltender Arvid Soderblom is on a good roll. It’s a full deck that coach Sorensen will be playing with.

“It’s a great opportunity. It makes our life easier when you have that type of talent for sure, and we have some game-breakers that when the game is on the line they know how to step up.”

Game time for game one Wednesday at the BMO Center is 7:05. It’ll be the only home game in this short best-of-three series. The next two games are scheduled for Friday night and Sunday afternoon in Iowa.