San Jose Barracuda
Friday, October 13 | Tech CU Arena, San Jose, CA
San Jose, Calif. – The Rockford IceHogs opened the 2023-24 AHL season with a 7-2 victory against the San Jose Barracuda on Friday evening at Tech CU Arena in their first meeting since 2018. David Gust scored two goals and an assist, Joey Anderson recorded three assists, and goaltender Drew Commesso recorded his first professional win in his pro debut by stopping 34 of 36 shots. Rockford’s power play converted on three of five opportunities in the win.
Along with Commesso, Nolan Allan, Ethan Del Mastro, Jalen Luypen, Antti Saarela, and Ryder Rolston made their regular season AHL debuts Friday night against the Barracuda.
Eight and half minutes into the first period of play, the IceHogs suffered a kneeing penalty by Saarela, and Rockford killed its first penalty of the year. Shortly after, Rockford picked up an opportunity to score on a power play off a tripping penalty by Ozzy Wiesblatt. It only took eight seconds on the IceHogs power play for Anders Bjork to score the first goal of the season for Rockford (10:48) after Anderson found him with a crisp feed across the slot.
Later in the first, Bjork stole a puck at center ice to find Anderson and create a three-on-two opportunity into the offensive zone. Mike Hardman followed close behind the play and buried another tape-to-tape pass from Anderson put the IceHogs up 2-0 (14:05).
San Jose’s Brandon Coe responded with a goal late in the first period to cut Rockford’s lead in half (15:58).
In the second period, Kale Howarth exited the game after a check to the head by Wiesblatt and wouldn't return to the game with an upper body injury. Wiesblatt’s penalty resulted in a five-minute major penalty and an ejection. The IceHogs took advantage of the major penalty, scoring two power-play goals in 29 seconds from Gust and Michal Teply. Teply scored on a ricochet in front of the net (5:16), and Gust beat San Jose goaltender Magnus Chroma five-hole after snaking through the San Jose defense (5:45).
With Rockford up 4-1, IceHogs defenseman Louis Crevier tripped San Jose’s Cole Cassels on a breakaway, and Cassels was awarded a penalty shot. On Cassels’ attempt, the experienced winger fired the puck over the glove of Commesso but off the elbow of the frame, and the score remained at 4-1 (15:52). The Hogs led by three at the end of two periods and Commesso had already made 29 saves on 30 San Jose shots.
In the final period of play, Commesso stopped the puck behind his own net before sending it along the boards to Brett Seney at center ice. Seney led a two-on-one break away, giving Gust an open net to score his second goal of the night (12:05) extending the Hogs lead. Gust was named the first star of the game with two goals and an assist. Commesso was credited with an assist on the play.
Shortly after the goal, Rockford dumped the puck into San Jose’s defensive end and saved a clearing opportunity at the blue line, sending the puck behind San Jose’s net. A strong effort by Jalen Luypen won the puck behind the net and allowed Ryder Rolston to score his first pro goal (14:06) on the play. Luypen earned his first pro point on the play as well.
With just about five minutes left to play, a holding penalty by Teply gave San Jose a six-on-four advantage as the Barracudas pulled their goalie to try and cut into the Hogs five goal lead.
On San Jose’s power play, Bryce Kindopp took advantage of an empty net and scored (15:58) to increase Rockford’s lead to 7-1. A cross-checking penalty called on Josh Healey late in the third gave San Jose a 5-on-3 power-play advantage that resulted in a late power-play goal for San Jose by Shakir Mukhamadullin (16:51).
The IceHogs killed off three of four power-play opportunities for the Barracuda, while scoring in three of five power-play opportunities themselves. Commesso earned his first career win in his first game saving 34 of 36 shots from San Jose while recording an assist on Gust’s second goal of the night.
The IceHogs return to action tomorrow for game two against the San Jose Barracuda with the puck drop scheduled for 4 p.m. CT.
IceHogs Hosting Opening Night Block Party on Oct. 21!
The IceHogs and Hard Rock Casino – Rockford are also teaming up on an exclusive Opening Night Block Party T-shirt giveaway. Fans attending the block party will have the first chance to get a shirt with the remaining shirts available to fans upon entry to the BMO Center. The festivities also include live music from AudioDrive, food trucks, beer tasting, players walking the red carpet, and more! Learn more HERE.
6-Game Pick-em Plans
Our Pick-em Plan is the perfect way to experience your choice of 6 IceHogs games, while saving money off our normal prices and paying no fees. Choose 6 games, save up to $5 per ticket off our normal prices, pay no additional ticket fees, and get a 6-game pack as low as $102 per seat!
Tune In LIVE on the IceHogs Broadcast Network Presented by BMO
Watch and listen to every game this season on the IceHogs Broadcast Network presented by BMO! Listen from your favorite device, at home, or on the road at IceHogs.com and on the IceHogs app and watch LIVE on AHLTV and selected games in High Definition on 19.2 Circle TV! Fans can also tune in on all of Mid-West Family’s local stations including 104.9 The X, B103, 95.3 The Bull, and Rockford Greatest Hits 100.5 and featured on Rock River Current, the Stateline’s premiere source for local events, news and culture.