10/08/2010 7:25 PM - Rockford, Ill.- The Rockford IceHogs stumbled against the Manitoba Moose 5-2 on Saturday at the Rockford MetroCentre to open the 2010-11 regular season.
Rockford fell into a four-goal deficit, which was too large to overcome. Manitoba started the game strong with early chances throughout the opening minutes. Hannu Toivonen held the Moose off the board early on, but Manitoba got to him at 5:38.
Moose forward Jonas Anderson put the first point on the board when he cut down the right side and angled off the IceHogs defense to follow up on his initial shot and slid one underneath Toivonen's pads. Sergei Shirokov and Lee Sweatt were each credited with assists.
Late in the first period Manitoba increased their lead to 2-0. Kevin Connauton connected with a shot from outside the hash marks at 15:54. Joel Perrault and Victor Oreskovich each factored in with an assist.
The Moose were able to stretch their lead to three goals with a one timer from Lee Sweatt while Manitoba skated on a 5-on-3 power play. Sweatt soared the puck past the diving Toivonen on his blocker side at 4:16. Nolan Baumgartner and Jordan Schroeder each picked up an assist while maintaining the pressure in the IceHogs zone.
Just over a half minute later the Moose kept rolling with a second power-play goal, this one from Shirokov at 4:47. The Moose had pressure in front started by Joel Perrault and Andersson who were eventually credited with assists. Shirokov found the net with a wrist shot that threaded its way past Toivonen.
Minutes into the third period the IceHogs began to increase their opportunities. Brandon Bollig got Rockford on the board when he knocked his first goal of the season past Manitoba's goaltender Eddie Lack at 3:24. Peter LeBlanc and Kyle Hagel factored in with an assist.
Then IceHogs winger Kyle Beach drove towards the left side and wristed a shot above the hash marks over the left side of Manitoba's Lack at 6:41 to cut the Moose lead down to 4-2. Brian Connelly and Ryan Stanton received assists on the play.
Manitoba, however, put the game out of reach when Oreskovich received a cross-ice pass from Bill Sweatt and converted a shot past Toivonen. Lee Sweatt also chipped in a helper on the goal at 15:01.
Toivonen stopped 26 shots in a losing effort, while Lack was able to keep things at bay in crucial moments in the third period finishing the game with 23 saves.
Manitoba's special teams were efficient capitalizing on two-of-three power play opportunities all but eliminating any chances for the IceHogs to comeback.
Next Home Game: Sunday, Oct. 10 vs. Grand Rapids Griffins. The game will start at 4:05 p.m. The Stanley Cup is coming back to Rockford. Fans can see and take a picture with the Stanley Cup starting at 3 p.m. The game will be brought to you by Taco Bell, WIFR and WXRX.