We got our first look at the Ice with their home preseason game vs. Chicago at the Carmel Ice Skadium this afternoon.
The two teams got a lot of chances to work on their special teams, as all four goals in the Ice's 3-1 victory were power play tallies.
The Ice were 3-for-8, while Chicago was 1-for-7 on the PP. Jon Gillies made 20 saves for the Ice in his first preseason start. He had to make a handful of tough saves -- the one goal he allowed was on a 5-on-3 -- but so did Chicago's Matthias Dahlstrom, who was peppered with 35 Ice shots and had to stop several odd-man rushes.
After a scoreless first period, the Ice drew first blood when Emil Romig converted a cross-ice feed from Robert Gawron from the left point to the right circle, and Romig buried it at 9:27 of the second period. Chicago answered when the Ice's Dan Sherer and R.J. Boyd took back-to-back hooking penalties 36 seconds apart. It took just 10 seconds for Zach Saar to tie the game.
The Ice put it away in the final 10 minutes of the third. With 9:28 left, Cody Gyllyng scored from in front on the PP setup. Then, with 2:36 left, Ryan Obuchowski ripped a shot from the high slot into the top-shelf right under the crossbar. Gillies had to make a couple of tough stops after Chicago pulled its netminder in the final minute for the extra attacker and maintained pressure, but the Ice won.
As new coach Kyle Wallack and his staff are getting a look at a lot of players, Daniil Tarasov and first-round pick Tyler Pham were among the scratches tonight (along with Woody Hudson, Ian Spencer and Miha Stebih).
Nine different players in on the scoring, coming from three different forward lines playing as PP units -- Romig, Jacob Fallon and Drew Mayer for the first goal (d-man Robert Gawron had the first assist, joining R.J. Boyd on the blueline. Fallon had the second assist). In fact, Gawron was the only player on the ice for more than one goal.
Gyllying was the right wing with Cody Bradley and Robert Polosello for the second goal. Polosello and Joseph Fiala had the assists (Fiala was teamed with Gawron).
The line of Christian Hilbrich-Robbie Baillargeon-Sean Kuraly produced Obuchowski's goal, with Hilbrich and Baillargeon getting the assists. Defenseman Alex Barron was also on the point.
Drew Smolcynski-Dan Sherer-Dan Cesarz also skated together, and produced chances. Cesarz had a point-blank look late in the game.
Of course, Gillies was solid. The Ice controlled the play much of the night -- Gillies had hardly any work in the first period.
Game boxscore (Pointstreak)
Also, the uniforms
The Ice also debuted new jerseys today, with a very classic look. The solid white jerseys have two thin sets of blue stripes at the bottom and on the sleeves, with the two-tone blue Ice logo in the middle, block numbers on the back with serifed nameplates, and Maple Leafs-style socks. Very, very simple and sharp. The 2004-05 white uniforms were my favorites, but these might eclipse those.
The Ice's next preseason game is Sept. 17 -- Saturday night -- against Muskegon. It will be played at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.