Rockford, Il. – The Rockford IceHogs’ Anton Wedin opened up scoring early in the first period of Saturday’s contest, but a three-goal second frame for the visiting Grand Rapids Griffins delivered the IceHogs a 4-2 loss in the first home game of the 2019-20 season. A capacity crowd of 5,371 packed the BMO Harris Bank Center to see the home opener and witness third-overall pick, Kirby Dach, take the ice for his professional debut.
Jacob Nillson helped Rockford get on the board when he set up Wedin 7:24 into the first. Nilsson redirected a shot, and when the puck rebounded off the pad of Griffins goaltender, Filip Larsson, Wedin stepped into a slap shot that gave the IceHogs a 1-0 lead.
Grand Rapids’ Jarid Lukosevicius knotted the game seven minutes later, jamming a loose puck past Collin Delia for his first goal of the season.
The Griffins broke the tie and then took a 3-1 lead when Michael Rasmussen and Filip Zadina scored back-to-back goals in the first 3:57 of the middle stanza.
The IceHogs battled back to within one when Dylan Sikura, skating to the left, fired a point shot back to his right and beat Larsson for his second goal in as many games. Sikura now has 15 points (8g, 7a) in his last 16 games with the IceHogs.
With exactly one minute remaining in the second, however, Dominik Shine sprung loose on the back door and buried a feed from Dylan McIlrath to give the Griffins a 4-2 lead.
Both Delia and Larsson shut the door in the third, with the former finishing with 24 saves on 28 shots and the latter stopping 23 of 25.
The IceHogs drop to 0-2-0-0 while the Griffins improve to 2-1-0-0. Monday’s home matchup against the Laval Rocket is the next opportunity for the Hogs to earn their first win of the season.
NEXT HOME GAME: Monday, Oct. 14 vs. Laval Rocket | 1 p.m.
The Rockford IceHogs will play the Laval Rocket for the first time in team history on Monday, Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Kids 17 and under can purchase tickets for just $5 and the Hogs will be teaming up with Two Men And A Truck for a pet item drive.