Rockford, Ill. — In a showdown of the top two teams in the American Hockey League’s Central Division, the Rockford IceHogs knocked off the Texas Stars 4-3 in overtime after a back-and-forth game. It marked Rockford’s second straight overtime win against the Stars and the fourth one-goal contest between the two rivals this season.
Coming into tonight’s contest, the Stars’ had a league leading 89.3% penalty kill, but the IceHogs went 2-for-4 on the power play to help propel them to the win.
Tied 3-3 heading into the extra period, forward Cole Guttman scooped up a loose puck and flew past Texas’ defense, setting up forward Lukas Reichel’s overtime winning blast in the slot at 1:11. Jaxon Stauber was stout in net, turning away 33 Texas shots to earn his third straight win.
The IceHogs snuck through the Stars’ near perfect penalty kill defense and scored the only goal of the first period. Defenseman Adam Clendening caught a centering pass from Alec Regula and fired a wrister from the slot. Finding the lose puck in front of the crease, forward Luke Philp dug it out, up, and over Texas goaltender Anton Khudobin on the power play at 7:36 taking a 1-0 lead.
Texas quickly tied the game 1-1 to start the middle stanza with a wrist shot from defenseman Thomas Harley high in the slot at 3:13 beat Stauber before forward Curtis McKenzie gave the Stars a 2-1 lead after tossing the puck over the head of Stauber at 8:08.
With four green sweaters around him, IceHogs defenseman D.J. Busdeker tied the contest 2-2 after netting a wrister past Khodobin from the slot just in front of the blue line unassisted at 9:12.
Tapping in the rebound from Reichel’s shot on Khudobin for the Hogs’ second power play goal of the night, forward David Gust lit the lamp at 4:58 giving Rockord a 3-2 lead; however, McKenzie scored his second goal of the game for the Stars at 10:04 to even the score for the third time at 3-3.
The win is the fourth in a row for the IceHogs, and fifth in their last six games. In all four of those wins, the Hogs have scored at least four goals in each contest.
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