The Rochester Ice Hawks had a rough go of it during the opening weekend of their first season in the North American Tier 3 Hockey League.
The Ice Hawks dropped a pair of games to the Twin City Steel (3-0) last weekend, playing two good periods before running out of gas in the third period in both games.
Rochester hopes to turn things around this weekend with another home-and-home series against the Breezy Point North Stars.
For the Ice Hawks, it's the second consecutive series against the NA3HL's West Division. The Ice Hawks are in the Central Division.
Last weekend's setbacks were not a major surprise to Ice Hawks coach Nick Fatis owing to the team carrying a short bench. Injuries depleted the team's blue line, forcing several skaters to play out of position.
Both Dylan Boysen and John Zwarych missed last weekend's series with upper-body injuries, and they both are out again this weekend and are expected to miss at least a month.
Sam Bjellum also suffered a serious injury, breaking his wrist last weekend. He's expected to be out between one and two months.
The Ice Hawks will see some familiar faces this weekend when they take on Breezy Point. The team's head coach is Rochester native Jeff Worlton, and the general manager is Craig Larson, who's a former Ice Hawks scout.
The Ice Hawks hit the road Friday and return home at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Graham Arena. The Rochester Recreation Center still is undergoing renovations, but the Ice Hawks hope to return to the Rec Center for their third home game (Oct. 17).
With injuries and an already short bench, the Ice Hawks added three new players this week.
Jake Patenaude joined the team after playing his high school hockey in Nebraska for the Lincoln Capitals.
Dominik Bogdzuil joined the team just prior to last weekend's games. He's a native of Lithuania who played in Finland last season. His family currently resides in Latvia. Bodgzuil made an immediate impact last weekend, rolling up two assists.
Fatis said he expects Bogdzuil to be a fan favorite. In addition to being a great hockey player, he speaks five languages.
Joining the Ice Hawks this week was defenseman Vladislav Shipota. He played last season in the NAHL at Springfield. He's a big blue-liner who will help that unit immediately. Shipota is a native of Moscow, Russia, though he has played in North America the last two seasons.
Field of Dreams
Ice Hawks announcer Jeff Boehmer will miss his first home game in eight years this weekend. Boehmer is a member of the Rochester Roosters vintage base ball club, and he was selected to represent Minnesota in a challenge game at the "Field of Dreams" in Dyersville, Iowa.
He will return to his announcing duties during the Ice Hawks home game on Oct. 17.