05/11/2018 10:19 PM
Article By: Peter Dewar
ROCKFORD, Ill. – Four players posted multi-point efforts and Collin Delia stopped 35 of 38 shots to help the Rockford IceHogs complete a four-game sweep of the Manitoba Moose with a 6-3 win at the BMO Harris Bank Center Friday night. The IceHogs will now head to the Western Conference Final for the first time in AHL franchise history, where they will take on the Texas Stars in a best-of-7 series beginning next Friday, May 18 at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park.
With tonight’s win, Delia now owns the IceHogs’ all-time record for consecutive playoff wins by a goaltender with seven, and the 2017-18 Hogs set a new team record, also for consecutive playoff wins, with seven. The Hogs outscored the Moose 18-7 through their series, and with four power-play goals tonight now lead the League with 15 tallies on the man-advantage.
For the first time since Game 1 of their first-round matchup against Chicago, the IceHogs opened the game’s scoring on Cody Franson’s third strike of the postseason just over five minutes into the affair, assisted by Adam Clendening and Chris DiDomenico. Since joining the IceHogs, the trio of Clendening, DiDomenico & Franson has combined for 109 points: Clendening (39 points, 45 games) DiDomenico (34 points, 29 games) Franson (36 points, 44 games).
Though Manitoba leveled the score at one with 6:51 left in the opening stanza, DiDomenico again put the Hogs ahead with a top-shelf rocket just 31 seconds later. But the Moose managed to send the teams to intermission tied once more as JC Lipon added a shorthanded tally at 17:50.
From the start of the second period through the final horn, though, the IceHogs were dominant, outscoring the Moose 4-1 through the last 40 minutes. Carl Dahlstrom nabbed a power-play goal 1:35 into the period as the Hogs’ man-advantage dwindled to eight seconds. Victor Ejdsell then added his second point of the outing, converting a penalty shot at 11:24. And Cody Franson rounded out the Hogs’ middle-frame blitz with another power-play marker at 17:07 to make it 5-2 Hogs.
Andreas Martinsen added an empty-netter and Manitoba’s Jake Kulevich scored with 10 seconds remaining in the game, but the Hogs had done their damage and walked away with a 6-3 win. Moose netminder Eric Comrie dueled Delia’s 35-save performance with 30 stops on 35 shots in Manitoba’s crease.
Next Home Game: Tuesday, May 22 vs. Texas Stars (Western Conference Finals | Game 3/Ticket H)