Ice Hawks let lead slip in third

That one stings.

The Rochester Ice Hawks took a 3-2 lead into the third period Saturday night in their Rochester Recreation Center season debut against the Minnesota Flying Aces.

But the Flying Aces scored two goals early in the third period and added a late power-play tally for a come-from-behind 5-3 win over the Ice Hawks in North American Tier 3 Hockey League action.

The Ice Hawks fell to 3-5-0 in the NA3HL, while the Flying Aces improved to 2-5-1.

Rochester traded goalie Sam Nelson late in the week, and in return it received Colin Hess, who made an immediate impact Saturday night.

Starting in goal for the Ice Hawks was Zach Mains. He played well, especially through the first two periods. Mains had 28 saves on 29 shots entering the third period. But the Flying Aces finally got to Mains in the third. He finished with 40 saves on 45 shots.

"Zach played well," Ice Hawks coach Nick Fatis said. "I'm sure there's one or two he'd like to have back, but he really kept us in it through two periods. We just ran out of gas in the third and didn't help him out like we need to."

Hess stepped into the lineup and produced two assists in his first game.

"He's a nice addition," Fatis said. "We're excited to see what he can do."

Jon Roth continues to step up for the Ice Hawks.

Roth put the Ice Hawks on the board in the opening frame, finishing a pass from Hess at the 12:42 mark of the first period.

Dominik Bogdzuil made it 2-0 less than two minutes later. Jake Kelly and Hunter Heightland assisted on the goal.

The Flying Aces got a late goal to make it 2-1 heading into the second period.

Roth pushed Rochester's lead to two goals with his tally 1:32 into the second. Griffen Buck and Hess picked up the helpers.

But again the Flying Aces got a late goal to cut into the Ice Hawks' lead, making it 3-2 entering the final 20 minutes.

The Flying Aces controlled the early part of the third period, scoring twice in less than three minutes. A power-play goal at 18:16 was the dagger.

"We played solid hockey for most of the game; we looked tired and had some breakdowns in the third," Fatis said. "We're still figuring things out. We would have liked to get a win in front of our home fans, playing in the Rec Center for the first time this year. But we came up a little short. It's a learning process and I feel like we keep taking steps forward, so that's a good sign."

The Ice Hawks went 0-for-4 with the man advantage, including an extended 5-on-3 situation in the third.

"That's an area we need to improve, but we had several good looks, we just couldn't convert," Fatis said.

The Ice Hawks return to action at 7:05 p.m. Saturday back at the Rec Center against the defending national champion North Iowa Bulls. The Bulls lead the Central Division at 8-0-1.