|(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
"We have to come out stronger," said captain Maxime Fortunus. "We have to respond better in that aspect of the game."
Texas was already down 2-0 on the scoreboard by the first intermission after volleying just four shots at Rockford's Michael Leighton in the frame. The IceHogs sent 11 shots toward Jack Campbell, who was pierced by two.
The most curious aspect of the game was the depth left in the seats to wear suits and watch the game instead of playing. Scott Valentine, Kevin Henderson and Matej Stransky all saw their names in the scratch column this evening. Instead, Mattias Janmark played just his ninth North American pro game, and Mattias Backman drew in as the seventh defenseman.
Now the Stars have no choice but to sweep in Rockford or be eliminated in the first round for the first time in five years.
Here's the release:
Michael Leighton's 34 saves smothered the offense for the Texas Stars and led the Rockford IceHogs to a 2-0 series lead with a 4-1 win on Saturday night in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in front of 4,978 at Cedar Park Center.
Brett Ritchie scored the only goal for Texas off a rebound at 11:58 of the third to close the Stars deficit to 2-1, but Peter Regin buried a power play goal less than five minutes later to pull the IceHogs away for good. Jack Campbell suffered the loss in net, stopping 24 of 27 shots.
The series shifts to Rockford, Ill for Game 3 on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
Garret Ross opened up the game's scoring midway through the first, fighting through a scrum of players and chipping in a puck that slipped through Campbell for his first of the playoffs. With two minutes remaining in the first, Tanner Kero sprung free down the left side and ripped a goal from the circle to make it 2-0 IceHogs.
After a scoreless second, Ritchie added his first of the postseason to cut into the Rockford lead, but that was the only offense the Stars could muster as Leighton settled in to make 30 of his 34 saves in the final two periods overall. Regin's power play strike was from the left circle at 16:17, and Brandon Mashinter added an empty-net goal with just under two minutes to play for his first of the playoffs and third point of the game.
The IceHogs finished 1-for-4 on the power play while the Stars went 0-for-3.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Henderson, Troock, Smith, Ully, Valentine, Mangene, Stransky, Bystrom, Kiviaho (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 4,978.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Rockford - April 24 2015