ROCKFORD, Ill. – Luke Johnson bagged the game-winning goal and Jeff Glass stopped 40 pucks to propel the Rockford IceHogs to a crucial 3-1 victory over the Texas Stars in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals at the BMO Harris Bank Center Friday night. The series now shifts back to Texas for Game 6 on Monday night, with the Stars still holding a 3-2 lead.
Johnson’s game-winner came at the tail end of an early Rockford onslaught. Victor Ejdsell collected a stretch pass along the wing before wiring a feed to the slot for Johnson to loft past Mike McKenna, putting the Hogs ahead 2-0 at 8:15 of the first period. With his strike, Johnson has now netted a goal in each of his last three games.
Cody Franson put the IceHogs on the right foot, posting the opening tally three minutes into the game. The blueliner gathered an awkward pass at the blue line and rifled a quick wrist shot that snuck past the leg pad of McKenna for his sixth tally of the postseason. Franson now leads all AHL defenseman in the postseason with six tallies in his 12 games played, three ahead of fellow IceHogs blueliner Carl Dahlstrom.
The IceHogs carried a 2-0 lead until midway through the second period, when Roope Hintz put the visiting Stars on the board with a high shot over the shoulder of Jeff Glass. But Glass and the Hogs held strong through the remaining period and a half, and were ultimately rewarded with an insurance tally by David Kampf at 11:13 of the third period. Kampf bagged his first goal of the playoffs with an odd bounce, wristing a puck off of McKenna’s blocker, over the goaltender’s head and into the net to seal the IceHogs’ win.
Glass’ 40 saves capped off his second career AHL playoff win in just his second appearance, and he has now stonewalled 68 of 71 shots against in his pair of starts (Games 4 and 5). Meanwhile, his counterpart McKenna, turned aside 18 of 21 shots for Texas in Game 5.
Next Home Game: TBD (Calder Cup Finals)
If the IceHogs beat the Texas Stars in their best-of-7 series, scheduling for the Calder Cup Finals will be announced at a later date. Tickets can be purchased at IceHogs.com, by calling (815) 968-5222 or in-person at the BMO Harris Bank Center Box Office.