|(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
Stephen Johns ended the Stars season just 23 seconds into the overtime frame. His wrap around goal that saw him enter the zone unmolested and swoop around the net for the winner was his first of the playoffs and the first and only shot of overtime for either team. Jamie Oleksiak had a feeble effort on the play, and it ended up costing the Stars the game.
The defeat marked Texas' first series sweep in franchise history. It was also the first time in 11 years that the defending champion was eliminated in the first round in a sweep.
Rockford opened the scoring on a goofy play that could have defined the night for Texas. A centering pass hit Maxime Fortunus' stick and rainbowed up over Jussi Rynnas. Phillip Danault scored as he swatted the puck past Rynnas for the 1-0 lead.
Devin Shore answered for Texas before the end of the period, scoring his first career postseason goal. The ATO forward swooped in down the right side and befuddled Leighton on the far side. The goal was unassisted, but Greg Rallo was in front distracting Leighton with the possibility of a tip play.
The second period saw Jussi Rynnas and Michael Leighton both step up their games to keep the scoring tight. The two squads combined for 30 shots at the nets in the frame, and only one pierced the armor. Late in the frame, Brett Ritchie's initial shot bounced out for a nice rebound attempt by Scott Glennie. The former first rounder popped the puck around Leighton as he extended his full body length while falling down to reach the puck on the far side and tap it in.
Not to be outdone, the IceHogs thought they'd take a chance at a falling-down goal. After two solid saves by Jussi Rynnas, a defensive zone faceoff proved fatal for Stars' lead. Phillip Danault lifted one over on the oddest play. Danault had eyes in the back of his head on the shot, whacking the puck on the backhand, falling down and facing away from the net. Rynnas lifted his arms trying to stop the chip shot, but it was too late.
Texas will return home to Cedar Park for locker cleanout and exit interviews.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Backman, Janmark, Troock, Smith, Ully, Valentine, Mangene, Bystrom, Kiviaho (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 3,905.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Rockford - April 29 2015