Cleveland, Ohio – The Rockford IceHogs battled the Cleveland Monsters to a 0-0 score through the first period of play, but a Monsters power play goal just past the midway point of the second period followed by a goal in the first minute of the third were enough to sink the IceHogs by a 2-1 score in the season opening game.
Neither side was able to strike in the first period, thanks largely to the goaltending. Rockford's Brandon Mashinter was stopped on the doorstep by the outstretched pad of Anton Forsberg, while Lars Johansson for the IceHogs was able to deny two near-breakaway chances by Sonny Milano.
Milano eventually found the back of the net to open up the scoring at 12:46 of the middle stanza. T.J. Tynan moved the puck to Jaime Sifers at the line, and he quickly tapped a pass to Milano. The speedy winger had time to dial up a wrist shot, which he banked off the right goalpost for a power play tally. Cleveland took the 1-0 lead into the final frame.
Just 25 seconds into the third, Alex Broadhurst bumped the Cleveland lead to 2-0. After a turnover in the defensive end, Tynan corralled the puck in the slot and slipped a pass to a wide-open Broadhurst for the strike.
As time was winding down in the third, Tanner Kero potted Rockford's first goal of the season. Kero skated up the left wing boards and finished off a toe-drag with a snapshot through the five-hole of Forsberg with 2:24 remaining in the game. The IceHogs then earned a late power play for a 6-on-4 advantage, but the Monsters stood tall to keep the puck out of the net and take the victory.
Lars Johansson started his first game in North America and turned away 26 of the 28 shots he faced. He also assisted on Kero's goal. Forsberg finished the night with 24 stops on 25 shots.
Home Opener: Saturday, Oct. 22 vs. Milwaukee at 7 p.m. The IceHogs open their 18th season of professional hockey at the BMO Harris Bank Center with the first home game of the 2016-17 season. The first 5,000 fans to enter the arena will receive an IceHogs calendar compliments of BMO Harris Bank. For tickets visit IceHogs.com or call (815) 968-5222.