Loveland, Colo. – The Rockford IceHogs were forced to settle for a series split with the Colorado Eagles after falling 3-1 at the Budweiser Event Center on Saturday night. Dylan Sikura registered Rockford’s only goal, and Lukas Reichel recorded an assist in his return to the IceHogs’ lineup.
Colorado started the scoring early in the first period when Eagles forward Charles Hudon forced a turnover at neutral ice and cashed in on a breakaway just 1:19 into regulation.
Forward Lukas Reichel rejoined the Rockford lineup and made his presence felt late in the first period. With the IceHogs on a power play, Reichel drew defenders to the high slot and fed former Eagle Dylan Sikura for a one-timer from the right circle. Sikura’s ninth tally of the season tied the game at 1-1 at 17:09 in the first period.
Rockford’s penalty kill came up with two big stops in the middle of the second frame to keep the game tied at 1-1 heading into the third period.
Neither team broke through until Colorado connected on the power play in the middle of the third frame. Oskar Olausson tipped a Mitchell Vande Sompel shot past Rockford goaltender Mitchell Weeks and gave the Eagles a 2-1 advantage at 12:09 in the third frame.
Despite heavy pressure from the IceHogs late in the third, Colorado’s defense and goaltender Justus Annunen held their ground, leading to an empty-net goal from Josh Jacobs with four seconds left in regulation. Jacobs’ empty-netter also gets tabbed as a power-play goal with a late penalty called against Rockford.
Weeks received just his second regulation loss of the season with 17 saves on 19 Colorado shots. Annunen finished his 12th win of the season by stopping 19 of Rockford’s 20 shots.
The next home game for Rockford is Wednesday, Jan. 18 against the Grand Rapids Griffins at 7 p.m. for Wet Your Whistle Wednesday. Get a ticket to the game and two drink tickets (good for beer, soft drinks, or water) for just $20. To unlock the offer on Ticketmaster, use code WYWED before selecting your seats.