ROCKFORD, Ill – The Rockford IceHogs extended their playoff run with back-to-back wins in elimination games as the series returns to Texas for Game 6 against the Stars at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. and fans can tune in to all the action on WIFR’s 23.2 Antenna TV, beginning with IceHogs Warmup at 6:30 p.m. IceHogs fans can also listen to the game at sportsfanradio1330.com or watch live at AHLlive.com (subscription required).
Matchup: The IceHogs dealt the Stars their first set of back-to-back losses this postseason with an overtime win in Game 4 and 3-1 victory on Friday in Game 5. In successfully staving off elimination, the Hogs became just one of 19 teams all-time in the AHL playoffs to trail 0-3 and force a Game 6 in a best-of-seven series. Only three teams in playoff history have rebounded from an 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven.
Goaltender Jeff Glass starred after getting the call for the second straight night, turning away 40 of 41 pucks to match the longest playoff win streak of his professional career. Glass has now stopped 68 of 71 pucks to earn the victory in each of his first two outings and tie his two-game win streak from the 2013 KHL playoffs with Sibir Novosibirsk. The veteran netminder is now 3-0 with just five goals allowed over three total starts against Texas in 2017-18.
In Game 5, IceHogs defensemen combined for four points during Rockford’s triumph over the Stars, with Adam Clendening, Cody Franson and Viktor Svedberg each finding the scoresheet in the contest. The Hogs now enter Monday boasting the top three scoring blueliners in the Calder Cup playoffs in Clendening, who has one goal and 12 assists in 12 games, Franson, who has notched six markers and six assists in 12 tilts and Carl Dahlstrom, who has logged three tallies and six assists in his 12 appearances.
Rockford forward Luke Johnson also chipped in a point Friday with the game-winning goal for his eighth point this postseason. Johnson collected just four points over his first nine games of the playoffs, but has since matched that total over his last three contests, including netting goals in each of the last three games. Johnson’s goal streak is the longest active streak in the playoffs and the second-longest overall in the 2018 postseason.
The Texas Stars were unable to eliminate the IceHogs from the postseason in two chances at the BMO Harris Bank Center and now return to Cedar Park Monday with a 6-1 home record in the Calder Cup playoffs. Texas’ lone loss at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park was a 5-1 defeat by the Ontario Reign on April 20 in the first round of the playoffs.
Netminder Mike McKenna remains the workhorse for the Stars, appearing in each of the team’s 14 games this postseason. McKenna has posted double-digit wins for the second straight year and has now amassed 30 total playoff victories through 59 combined appearances in seven different trips to the Calder Cup playoffs. He enters Game 6 ranked first in the league in minutes (895:42), wins (10) and saves (459), and fifth in save percentage (.937).
Forward Roope Hintz potted Texas’ lone marker during Friday’s matchup, and carries a point-per-game average over his last five appearances with two goals and three assists in that time. The winger had led the Stars to two straight victories when he scored a goal in a game, but snapped the streak with Friday’s Game 5 loss to the IceHogs. Overall, Hintz ranks third on Texas in total scoring, with his 10 points trailing only Brian Flynn’s 12 points and captain Curtis McKenzie’s team-high 14 points through 14 postseason tilts.
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.