After taking a twenty-four hour jaunt to Oklahoma City, the Texas Stars returned to Cedar Park a tired bunch. The Rockford IceHogs, working on one day's rest and angry from a 7-0 pasting at the hands of the Barons, were waiting for them. "I feel like we played pretty well tonight," said Matt Stephenson. "We only had three or four mistakes and they managed to score on every one of them."
The IceHogs took it to the Stars through all sixty minutes. Having been all but officially eliminated from playoff contention, Stephenson commented: "They're playing like they don't have anything to lose."
The Hogs started the scoring in the first with a goal just off a faceoff that beat Beskorowany five-hole. With one second left in the first, Connelly extended the lead to 2-0 on a PPG. That would prove to be the game winner.
Texas and Rockford traded goals in the second period. Rockford went first just 36 seconds into the period with Brandon Pirri scoring on a breakaway. The Stars got their only goal of the game on the power play in the second. Travis Morin one-timed an Aaron Gagnon pass from the right-wing circle to beat Hannu Toivonen and set the score at 3-1.
Rockford sealed things up in the third though, as Jeff Taffe and Ben Smith scored 82 seconds apart to make the final 5-1 for the IceHogs. Texas finishes the season series with Rockford at 3-3-0-0. They now have two days off before travelling to Peoria to face the Rivermen, yet another team battling for their playoff lives. From here on out the Stars know that it's win to get in. Stephenson repeated the mantra: "Show up everyday like it's the playoffs."
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Ludwig (upper body)
McCulloch, Embach, Monast (scratched)
Vincour, Segal, Lukowich (callup)
Tonight's attendance was 4,756.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Rockford - April 3 2011