ROCKFORD — Philip Holm scored a first-period goal, but the Rockford IceHogs allowed three unanswered goals for a 3-1 loss to the Laval Rocket to fall to 0-3 this season Monday afternoon in front of 2,034 at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
Alex Belzile, Lukas Vejdemo and Charles Hudon all scored for the Rocket (1-3). Otto Leskinen had two assists, and Cayden Primeau made 21 saves in the win.
Rockford’s Collin Delia made 40 saves in his second straight start.
Holm put the IceHogs on the scoreboard 7:02 into the game. Anton Wedin won a faceoff in the defensive zone then had a give-and-go with Jacob Nilsson through the neutral zone before Nilsson sent a pass to the high slot for Holm, who fired a wrister past Primeau.
The Rocket had one key scoring chance in the first on an odd-man rush with 2 minutes left in the opening frame, but Adam Boqvist broke up the play. Kirby Dach mirrored Boqvist’s effort a mere 2 minutes into the second.
But Belzile leveled the game 1-1 with a power-play goal at 5:52 when his backhanded shot deflected off Joni Tuulola’s stick and past Delia. It’s the third straight game Rockford has allowed a power play tally.
Vejdemo put Laval up 2-1 three minutes later when he picked up a loose puck in the slot and backhanded it on net, which Delia initially saved, but the puck trickled into the net.
After the Rocket took the lead, Rockford head coach Derek King shifted Dach up to the top line with Wedin and Kris Versteeg and moved Nilsson to the third line with Aleksi Saarela and John Quenneville. The lineup change yielded only one shot for Saaela the rest of the frame.
Looking for an offensive spark after only recording 17 shots on net after two frames, King made changes to every line. Rockford gained the man advantage six minutes in on Poehling’s delay of game penalty, but it was negated when Boqvist’s hooked a Laval forward during an odd-man rush to prevent a shorthanded breakaway. Neither team capitalized on the advantage.
Hudon added an insurance goal on a one-timer with 4:55 remaining off another offensive faceoff win by Poehling.
Dach registered two shots on goal and was unofficially 2 for 10 on faceoffs. He remained active in all three zones, broke up passes defensively and looked poised.
“(Dach) wasn’t terrible just not as good as he was the first night with the excitement of playing again,” King said. “That’s hockey. He’s, as you see, when he gets the puck good stuff happens.
“We’ll see how long we have him for. I don’t know how long he’s here. It’s up to (Chicago). I know he only has so many days here. Whether it’s three games, four games or this is it.”
Dach was not made available to media.
The IceHogs play a home-and-home against the Chicago Wolves (Golden Knights), starting at 7 p.m. Friday in Rockford.