Hogs’ Season Comes to Close in 4-2 Game 3 Loss to Texas
Cedar Park, Texas – The Rockford IceHogs’ Calder Cup Playoff run ended after falling 4-2 to the Texas Stars in Game 3 of the Central Division Semifinals on Wednesday night at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park. Forwards Michal Teply and Lukas Reichel scored, but the Hogs were largely unable to solve Stars goaltender Matthew Murray who stopped 27 of 29 Rockford shots.
The IceHogs gave up the first goal of the game in the back-and-forth, three-goal first period. After Texas won a faceoff in Rockford’s zone, Stars forward Riley Damiani parked himself in the slot and deflected defenseman Ben Gleason’s wrist shot from the right point past Rockford goalie Arvid Soderblom at 2:16.
Evening the score 1-1 five minutes later on the power play, Rockford forward Michal Teply knocked in a puck from the slot at 7:11 after Texas forward Mavrik Bourque was charged with a tripping minor at 6:30. Stars netminder Matthew Murray couldn’t corral the initial shot from Teply, and the shot bounced in after Murray deflected it with his shoulder.
Texas forward Nicholas Caamano gave the Stars a 2-1 lead just halfway through the first period after punching a rebound past Soderblom 12:01. The Rockford netminder made two stops to deny Rhett Gardner and Riley Tufte, but the IceHogs couldn’t clear out the loose puck, and Caamano’s shot snuck past Soderblom’s glove side.
In the scoreless second period, Rockford killed off all three of Texas’ power-play opportunities and kept the score 2-1.
Extending the lead to 3-1 in the third period, Texas defenseman Oskari Laaksonen tallied his first goal of the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs. After his first shot was blocked by Rockford forward Lukas Reichel’s skate, Laaksonen slipped a shot behind Soderblom from the edge of the right circle at 4:57.
Rockford’s comeback hopes were dashed in the third period after Teply was called for a cross-check. Just over a minute later, Gardner provided the dagger for Texas when he buried a power-play goal at 17:14 in the third.
With 16 seconds left in the game, Reichel flung a wrap-around shot that snuck past Murray and cut the Stars lead to 4-2.
Soderblom suffered his third-straight loss to the Stars after stopping 22 of 26 Texas shots, and Murray earned his third career Calder Cup Playoff win with 27 saves on 29 Rockford shots.