Rockford IceHogs top San Antonio Rampage on a night of firsts


After being outscored by the Cleveland Monsters 12–1 last weekend, including allowing 12 unanswered goals, the Rockford IceHogs got a number of firsts on the board against the San Antonio Rampage on Wednesday night for a 6–2 win. Rockford improves to 3–5–0 on the year with the win.

IceHogs top Rampage in ‘get-right’ effort

Kevin Lankinen returned to the IceHogs’ blue paint on Wednesday night, marking his first action for Rockford since starting the regular season opening game against the Iowa Wild. Lankinen would stop 28 pucks in his first game back and earn his first win of the 2019–20 season. It would be one of many firsts on the night for the IceHogs.

Tyler Sikura opened the scoring for the IceHogs in the first period, netting his fourth of the year on a second-effort goal. Sikura’s tally tied the game 1–1 as the Rampage scored the opening goal of the game.

Quickly following Sikura’s tying goal, Nick Moutrey would get his first goal of the season on a one-timer from Reese Johnson. Moutrey’s first of the year gave Rockford the 2–1 lead in the first period and would be extended to 3–1 after MacKenzie Entwistle finished a strong forechecking effort by stripping the puck away from the San Antonio defender and beating Ville Husso for the first professional goal of his career.

Taking a 3–1 lead into the second period, the IceHogs were not done with their night of firsts. After assisting on Moutrey’s 2–1 goal, Johnson would net his own first professional goal of his career just beyond the midway point of the second period to make it a 4–1 Rockford lead.

Just about five minutes later, quite possibly the biggest breakthrough for Rockford all year came to be as Brandon Hagel made a spin pass to Adam Boqvist and he buried the 5–1 goal for his first goal as a professional. The Boqvist tally came while on the power play, making it also the first power play goal of the year for the IceHogs. They had been scoreless on 29 chances with the man advantage before Boqvist’s goal. Adding to the night of firsts, Nicolas Beaudin recorded the secondary assist on the power play goal for his first point as a professional with the IceHogs.

After the game, Boqvist spoke to getting the first one off the team’s back.

“It’s good to get the first goal,” Boqvist said. “Hadn’t scored one in eight games so hopefully now the gate is open.”

Boqvist gave credit to puck management and improved defensive zone coverage for the IceHogs’ turnaround effort.

The Rampage would cut the Rockford lead to 5–2 with a goal in the third period, but Jacob Nilsson buried an empty-net goal to make it 6–2 and would hold to the final horn. The IceHogs were able to kill off all five power play chances against them, and Lankinen made 28 saves en route to the win.

“It was like he hadn’t missed a beat,” Rockford head coach Derek King said of Lankinen after the game. “He was huge for us at the start and we seemed to settle in after he made a couple big saves for us.”

King also noted the feeling of relief after the first power play goal of the season.

“I’m more relieved for those guys,” King said. “Kind of been hard on them lately. They battled through it and I kept telling them not to grip the stick too hard; we get more chances and if we don’t score, we don’t score. But it was nice to see one go in.”

What’s next?

The Rockford IceHogs are back in action on Saturday night as they host the Iowa Wild. The second meeting between the teams this season, Iowa topped Rockford in the season-opening contest on Oct. 4. Puck drop on Saturday night is scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

Center Ice Forums Rockford IceHogs top San Antonio Rampage on a night of firsts

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