Friday, April 24, 2015

Third Period Letdown Hands Rockford Game 1 Over Stars

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Unfortunately, the third period has been a bugaboo for the Stars agasint the IceHogs this season. That trend continued into the playoffs tonight as Texas ceded three goals in the final frame to lose by a 4-2 mark in the first game of their opening round playoff series.

Spencer Abbott, who has collected a point per game against Texas in his playoff career, continued that trend with two goals tonight at the Cedar Park Center. A third period 5-on-3 goal tied things up and set the stage for a game-winning tally by defensive D-man Kirill Gotovets, only his second career AHL goal of either the regular season or postseason.

The Stars gave the IceHogs two 2-man advantages in the final frame and were really just asking for trouble by putting themselves in that position for a total of over a minute in the frame.

Texas has one last shot at home against the Hogs Saturday before three in Rockford. If they leave Texas down 0-2, they may not make it back to the ice in Cedar Park until October.

Here's the release:
Three third period goals for the Rockford IceHogs was the difference in a comeback win over the Texas Stars to take Game 1 by a 4-2 final on Friday night in front of 4,375 in attendance at Cedar Park Center.

Spencer Abbott scored a pair of power play goals for the IceHogs, including the game-tying marker. Texas picked up goals from Curtis McKenzie and Julius Honka. Jussi Rynnas stopped 33 shots in net for Texas, while Michael Leighton made 33 saves in the win for Rockford.

Game 2 is Saturday night at Cedar Park Center at 7 p.m.

Abbott opened up the game’s scoring with the only goal of the first, snapping a wrist from the slot at 6:23 for his first of the playoffs.

In period two, Curtis McKenzie knotted things up for the Stars at 16:37, finishing off a rebound goal in a scrum at the front of the net with assists from Greg Rallo and Honka.

Honka put Texas in front, 2-1, burying a slap shot from the top of the right circle at 4:24 of the third for his first of the postseason, but the IceHogs would score three straight to overtake the Stars in the win. Abbott added his second of the night from the bottom of the left circle during a two-man advantage at 8:31. Kirill Gotovets tallied the game-winner on a one-timer at 12:19 from a behind-the-net pass by Phillip Danault.

Ryan Hartman added an empty-net goal for the 4-2 final.

The Stars went 1-for-4 on the power play while the IceHogs finished 2-for-6. The win snapped an eight-game playoff losing streak for Rockford.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Morin-Rallo
Ranford-Dowling-Ritchie
Hulak-Shore-Glennie
Henderson-Dickinson-Stransky

Fortunus-Oleksiak
Nemeth-Gaunce
Backman-Honka

Rynnas

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Meech, Troock, Smith, Ully, Valentine, Mangene, Bystrom, Janmark, Kiviaho (scratch)
Faksa (injury)

Tonight's attendance was 4,375.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Rockford - April 24 2015

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