McKenzie's OT Winner Gives Texas Stars 3-0 Series Lead Over IceHogs

(credit: Rockford IceHogs)
The Texas Stars edged the Rockford IceHogs 6-5 in a thrilling overtime game, putting a stranglehold on the series with a 3-0 lead. Stars captain Curtis McKenzie turned in a three point game and had the game winner. It was the seventh time in this postseason that the Stars have played in overtime.

Austin Fyten, who was injured for the past fifteen games, drew into the lineup for the ailing Remi Elie and tallied a big goal late in the third period to give the Stars a momentary lead. Sheldon Dries, Justin Dowling, and Jason Dickinson all pitched in with two points a piece.

Near the five minute marker of the first period, Tyler Sikura skated past Matt Mangene on the back check and went five hole on Mike McKenna. With thirteen and a half minutes to go in the period, the Stars earned ample time of 5-on-3 play and capitalized, tying the game at one on Curtis McKenzie's goal. McKenzie was left alone on Delia's front porch and cleaned up a loose puck near the crease.

A few minutes later, the IceHogs hemmed the Stars in their zone and drew a penalty. On the delayed call, Rockford was able to get the extra attacker on the ice and took advantage with a goal from John Hayden.

Dowling had his best shift of the postseason to even the score again with under seven minutes left in the first period. First, he couldn't net a glorious chance from the slot when a rebounded puck found his stick. When the Stars went on the rush the next possession, Dowling wasn't to be denied a second time and buried a beautiful short side roofer.

Less than a minute later, Dickinson forced a turnover and found Dries streaking down the slot. The pass was on time, and Dries notched his fifth playoff goal.

The IceHogs pushed back in a big way in the middle frame as they held the Stars scoreless and notched two tallies. Gustav Forsling tied the game from the high slot in the waning seconds of a man advantage just after six minutes of play. His one timer somehow baffled McKenna and beat him in the high corner.

The Stars had a chance to get it back on the power play another six minutes later but squandered the opportunity as the IceHogs generated a couple of shorthanded looks. Just after liberating their man from the box, they set up a tip-in goal for Luke Johnson right in front of the crease. Winger Matthew Highmore had the primary assist on both second period goals.

After fending off a blistering IceHogs forecheck for eleven minutes of the third period, the Stars countered as Dries scored his second goal and evened thing up at four with a slick backhand to forehand deke in front of the net. Fyten's goal gave the Stars the lead.

With two minutes left of play and an empty IceHogs net, the Stars were forced to ice the puck three consecutive times. Cody Franson's prayer from the blue line crept in past a heavily screened McKenna to send the game to overtime.

The Stars were the aggressors during extended play and looked like they had been there before. After coming up blank on some good chances from the fourth line, they clinched the game with McKenzie's second goal. On the rush, McKenzie threw a pass across the crease that bounced off of the back checking Adam Clendening and in past Delia.

With a chance to sweep the series, the Stars will be back at it again Rockford on Thursday night. The puck drops at 7:00 PM CDT.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
O'Brien, Payne, Calderone, Kelleher, Rallo, Hansson, Paliotta, Robertson, Desrosiers (scratch)
Nyberg, Elie (injury)

Tonight's attendance was 2,923.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Rockford - May 22 2018


  1. Was it not a coaching mistake to not use a time out after 3 consecutive icings? Those guys were out there almost two minutes with the net empty. Also, DiDomenico is a punk.

    1. blbwolf17 is correct. A timeout would've been optimal during that stretch of play, but the rules prevent you from calling one after an icing. I think its a good rule.

    2. Duh, totally forgot about that rule! Thanks for the correction.

  2. If I'm not mistaken, you are not allowed to call your time out following an icing


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