ROCKFORD, Ill. – Several current and former Rockford IceHogs players made their preseason debut last night in the Chicago Blackhawks’ contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Below is breakdown of IceHogs from the 2017-18 season who took the ice both with and against Chicago:
Victor Ejdsell (F): The highly-touted prospect skated in 15:25 of ice time, including seeing 1:42 on the power-play unit. Ejdsell fired one shot on goal in the defeat and finished second among Chicago skaters by winning 50 percent of his faceoffs (only Marcus Krueger posted a better faceoff percentage – 63 percent).
Andreas Martinsen (F): Rockford’s recipient of the 2017-18 Heavy Hitter Award shared first on the team with two blocks and was tied for second with two hits during his 11:02 of ice time. Martinsen capped his debut with 1:16 of time on Chicago’s penalty-kill unit.
Matthew Highmore (F): The IceHogs reigning Rookie of the Year finished a quiet night with just one shot on goal against the Blue Jackets. Highmore logged a solid 14:30 of ice time in the game, leading team forwards with 1:42 on the penalty kill and skating for 16 seconds on the power play.
John Hayden (F): Hayden served as an alternate captain during the preseason matchup and posted two penalty minutes and one shot on goal. Hayden saw the second-most ice time of any 2017-18 IceHogs forward with his 15:54, and he shared the lead for all Chicago forwards with 2:02 on the power play.
Henrik Samuelsson (F): The former first-rounder Samuelsson recorded two hits in the game and finished first among all skaters for both Chicago and Columbus with four penalty minutes in the game. He took a slashing call against Gabriel Carlsson late in the first period and was whistled for tripping against Ryan Collins with 4:40 remaining the second stanza.
Nathan Noel (F): Noel, who split the 2017-18 campaign between the IceHogs and ECHL’s Indy Fuel, paced the Blackhawks with four hits in the game despite skating in the third-fewest minutes among team forwards. He recorded two hits against defenseman Dillon Simpson, one against blueliner Ryan Collins and one on defenseman Gabriel Carlsson.
Alexandre Fortin (F): Fortin continued his impressive work leading into the 2018-19 season, following a strong showing at the Prospect Tournament with the Blackhawks’ lone goal against Columbus on Tuesday. Fellow forward Dominik Kahun created space and worked the puck on net before sending a feed over to Fortin for an early look against former IceHogs netminder, J.F. Berube. Fortin converted with a snapshot that beat Berube stick-side for a 1-0 lead over the Blue Jackets.
Below is a video of Fortin’s tally:
Fortin also led all 2017-18 IceHogs skaters with 16:52 of ice time.
Erik Gustafsson (D): An AHL All-Star selection last season, Gustafsson picked up the secondary assist on Alexandre Fortin’s goal to finish as the lone Blackhawks defenseman with points in Tuesday’s game. Gustafsson was also one of only two Blackhawks skaters to see more than 20:00 of time on ice (20:32), and he led the team with seven shots on goal.
Carl Dahlstrom (D): Dahlstrom finished his night by sharing the team lead with 2:04 of ice time on Chicago’s penalty-kill unit (also Henri Jokiharju). The blueliner fired three shots on goal in the defeat and recorded one blocked shot.
Collin Delia (G): The IceHogs’ Most Improved Player from the 2017-18 season took over in net for Chicago roughly midway through last night’s contest. Delia turned away 14 of 16 shots on his no-decision en route to posting an .875 save percentage. Rockford’s standout goaltender allowed tallies on snapshots from Cam Atkinson and Liam Foudy in the third frame.
J.F. Berube (G): Former Hogs netminder Berube made the start for Columbus in the preseason opener Tuesday night and stopped all but one of his 15 shots faced through his two periods of action. Berube stopped shots from Dylan Sikura and Carl Dahlstrom before being breached on an even-strength marker from his former teammate, Alexandre Fortin.
NEXT HOME GAME: Saturday, Oct. 13 vs. Texas Stars | 6 p.m.
The Rockford IceHogs will host their home opener for the 2018-19 season on Saturday, Oct. 13 against the Texas Stars at 6 p.m. at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The first 4,000 fans in attendance to Rockford’s first home game of the campaign will receive a free IceHogs calendar, courtesy of Impact Networking. Call the IceHogs front office at (815) 968-5222 or visit icehogs.com to purchase tickets.