Four games down in the march to the Calder Cup for the Texas Stars. Tonight's win marked the first playoff series win for the franchise and advances them to the next round against either Chicago or Milwaukee. The Wolves and Admirals will play a Game 7 in Chicago on Monday night to decide who moves on. Let's get down to the play-by-play.
Texas opened the scoring in the game on the power play off the stick of Andrew Hutchinson. Just four minutes into the game with Rob Klinkhammer in the box for interference, Hutchinson's point shot made it past goalie Corey Crawford to put the Stars up 1-0. Assists on the play came from Travis Morin and captain Landon Wilson.
Brent Krahn's strong play kept it at 1-0 as the IceHogs put a barrage of shots on net following the Gagnon high sticking minor in the second period. A number of "how did he do that" saves preserved the lead. Texas would extend the lead to 2-0 on a nifty play by a hybrid line. Jamie Benn and Perttu Lindgren skated in with the puck, Lindgren passed to Benn who immediately passed across the ice to the trailer, Beaudoin, who had an empty net. For Beaudoin, it was his second goal in as many games.
Less than two minutes later, Texas would mount a 3-0 lead again off the stick of Hutchinson. Hutchinson whacked the puck from the high slot like it said something about his momma and beat Crawford in the top left corner of the net. Lindgren and Morin assisted on the power play tally.
Rockford was not defeated yet. After putting 28 shots on net through the first two periods, the IceHogs laid 12 more on Krahn in the final period and not all of them were stopped. Both tallies came on the power play. First, eight minutes in, Kyle Beach scored on the power play to make it 3-1. Then, late in the game, Texas got into penalty trouble. Trevor Ludwig took a delay of game penalty for closing his hand on the puck in the crease with 3:20 left in the game. Fifty-one second later, Francis Wathier took a tripping call. Texas faced a 6-on-3 for many seconds and then a 6-on-4, finally succumbing and allowing a 2nd goal in a playoff game for the first time in Stars history. It was Kyle Beach again. Luckily, Texas had enough gas in the tank to close it out and tally an empty-netter by Warren Peters.
What a game (and series) from Brent Krahn, who certainly earned his #1 star. He stopped 38 of 40 shots on net in the game and his GAA for the series went up as he let in 2 goal tonight. Wow.
I won't eulogize the IceHogs, that's for someone else to do on their blog. However, I will say that they have now lost 10 straight playoff games dating back to May of 2008. Coach Peters has a good team in the regular season, but doesn't have the right formula for post-season success. The IceHogs will now have the long summer to think it over.
For Texas, it is either Chicago or Milwaukee. We won't know until Monday night which one it is. Texas now gets some well-deserved rest before starting the division finals.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Korostin, Shelast, Ty. Ludwig, Graham, Chupp, Gazdic (scratched)
Tonight's attendance was 2,403. That's just sad.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Rockford - April 23 2010