LA CROSSE, Wis. — The Rochester Ice Hawks scored first, but the La Crosse Freeze scored the rest of the goals to win Saturday’s season-opening North American 3 Hockey League game 8-1 at Green Island Arena.
Ice Hawks captain Michael Smits scored a power-play goal 6:29 into the game, but La Crosse answered 22 seconds later and didn’t let up.
The Freeze’s Clayton Lackey scored the game-winning goal at 17:01 of the first period, giving his team a 2-1 lead after one. La Crosse scored four times in the second period and twice in the third.
Former Rochester John Marshall forward Brandon Ratzloff led La Crosse with a goal and two assists, and had a team-best plus-4 plus/minus rating. Another former JM standout, defenseman Josh Frerks, didn’t have a point Saturday, but he had a plus-3 rating for the Freeze.
Tait Carlson started in goal for Rochester and stopped 25 of 29 shots before giving way to Luke Murphy midway through the second period. Murphy stopped 15 of 19 shots the rest of the way.
The Ice Hawks finished with 18 shots on goal. They’re off until Sept. 22, when they play at Breezy Point.
FREEZE 8, ICE HAWKS 1
Rochester Ice Hawks: Michael Smits 1 goal; Noah Roach 1 assist; Zach Curry 1 assist. Goalies: Tait Carlson (30:49; L, 0-1-0; 29 shots-25 saves); Luke Murphy (29:11; 19 shots-15 saves).
La Crosse Freeze: Brandon Ratzloff 1 goal, 2 assists; Thomas Magnavite 2 goals; Clayton Lackey 1 goal, 1 assist; Marcus Tilmon 1 goal, 1 assist; Matthew Francois 1 goal, 1 assist; Ben Beversdorf 1 goal; Brock Zukowski 1 goal. Goalie: William Graves (W, 1-0-0; 18 shots-17 saves).