The 2018-19 AHL season is here! Someone might need to tell the Rockford IceHogs…
Over the weekend, the IceHogs opened their 2018-19 campaign with back-to-back losses to the Cleveland Monsters on Friday and Saturday. Friday night’s contest, the season-opening game for the IceHogs, ended 4-1 in favor of the Monsters. The quick turnaround to Saturday afternoon also fell in favor of the Monster, 5-2.
Rockford starts the season 0-2-0 for the third time in the last seven years, dating back to the opening of the 2012-13 season.
Rockford IceHogs Sluggish Against Monsters Over Opening Weekend
While the outcomes of both weekend matchups were not what the Rockford IceHogs would have wanted, there were some small positives to take away from the opening weekend.
First, the IceHogs were able to get the opening goal in both games. On Friday, it was last season’s goal-scoring leader Matthew Highmore opening the AHL season by finishing off a tic-tac-toe goal setup by Luc Snuggerud and Victor Ejdsell. The Monsters would go on to put four unanswered behind starter Kevin Lankinen to get the win on Friday with former IceHogs goaltender J.F.Berube in net for the Monsters..
Saturday afternoon started off well again for the IceHogs. The Sikura brothers connected for the opening tally in the first period for Rockford to give them the early 1-0 lead. See the below tweet from the Rockford IceHogs twitter account on how rare the Dylan Sikura to Tyler Sikura goal connection was:
Fun fact: before Friday, the Sikura brothers hadn't played organized hockey together since high school junior varsity, making this the first time in the brothers' professional careers that they have connected for a goal. https://t.co/wclDwIynYK
— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) October 6, 2018
The goal also marked the first AHL point for Dylan Sikura in his professional career. Much like Friday night, the Monsters would go on to score multiple unanswered goals, five to be exact, behind starter Collin Delia. The bleeding would be stopped by Lucas Carlsson mid-way through the third period of Saturday afternoon’s game as he scored his first goal of his AHL career. Carlsson took a cross-ice feed from Jordan Schroeder and ripped a slap-shot past Brad Thiessen.
The other positive from the weekend was the work of the IceHogs’ special teams units. For the weekend as a whole, Rockford killed six of seven penalties against them, allowing one powerplay goal to Eric Robinson in Saturday’s contest, and the Sikura brothers tally coming on the powerplay to give Rockford a one-for-five weekend on the man-advantage.
This weekend’s slow start is hopefully behind the IceHogs as they move into the second week of the season, and can possibly be traced back to the team needing to find their game-speed legs, having not played a preseason game this Summer. The current roster is too talented for what was on the ice over the weekend to be the REAL IceHogs.
The Rockford IceHogs look to get their first game in the ‘Win’ Column this upcoming weekend as they take on the Texas Stars and Hershey Bears in a weekend back-to-back slate. Saturday night is opening night for the BMO Harris Bank Center when the IceHogs face the team that eliminated them from the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs, the Texas Stars. Puck drop is at 6pm CT.
After taking on the Stars, the IceHogs turn around and host the Hershey Bears for a Sunday afternoon home game. Puck drop is scheduled for 4pm CT in Rockford.