The game was scoreless for the first two periods. In the third, Petri Kantiola and Kris Versteeg each scored a goal for Rockford, 43 seconds apart. Goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 30 of 31 shots on goal.
Marco Rosa scored the Aeros' lone goal unassisted late in the third period.
The Aeros were unable to score in their three power-play chances, while stopping the IceHogs' five opportunities.
Houston Aeros vs. Rockford IceHogs
First round playoff schedule
Game 1: Rockford 3, Aeros 1
Game 2: Aeros 1, Rockford 0
Game 3: Rockford 2, Aeros 1
Game 4: Rockford 2, Aeros 1
Friday: at Toyota Center, Houston, 7:35pm
*April 27: at Rockford MetroCentre, Rockford, Ill., 7:05pm
*April 28: at Rockford MetroCentre, Rockford, Ill., 7:05pm
* if necessary