05/04/2015 8:43 AM
Article By: Brent Hollerud
Rockford heading to Western Conference Semifinals after dispatching the Texas Stars
Week 30 Results:
(Game 3) Wednesday, April 29: Texas 2 vs. Rockford 3 (OT)
(Rockford wins series 3-0)
* If Necessary
Week 31 Schedule:
Game 1: Wednesday, May 6 at Grand Rapids, 6 p.m.
Game 2: Friday, May 8 at Grand Rapids, 6 p.m.
Week 30 Recap:
The IceHogs are heading to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs after winning their first playoff series since the 2007-08 season. Rookie defenseman Stephen Johns’ overtime game-winning goal gave Rockford a 3-2 victory in Game 3 Wednesday night, and with it a three-game sweep of the defending champion Texas Stars. After having the weekend off the IceHogs will face the Grand Rapids Griffins in the Western Conference Semifinals, beginning on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena.
With their overtime victory on Wednesday night, the IceHogs won their Western Conference Quarterfinal series 3-0 and eliminated the Texas Stars
It was Rockford’s first series win since the 2008 West Division Semifinals against the Houston Aeros, and the seventh in club history
Rockford is one of three teams to win their opening round series in three games, joining the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (def. Syracuse) and the Oklahoma City Barons (def. San Antonio)
The IceHogs have never previously swept a postseason series, and become the first team since 2004 to sweep the defending Calder Cup Champions in the opening round (2003 champs Houston lost 2-0 to Cincinnati in the 2004 West Division Qualifier)
Rockford finishes with a 7-0-0-0 record against the Stars in 2014-15, extending an overall winning streak to 11 games dating back to the 2012-13 season
The IceHogs improve to 2-5 in franchise playoff overtime games; with a 1-1 mark in their AHL history
With his game-winning goal on Wednesday, defenseman Stephen Johns becomes the second player in Rockford history to score a series-clinching overtime goal
Terry Harrison is the other, scoring in overtime in Game 6 to propel the IceHogs over the Kalamazoo Wings in the first round of the 2005 UHL Playoffs
Scoring 23 seconds into overtime, Johns set the IceHogs AHL record for the fastest goal at the start of a period, eclipsing Kris Versteeg’s mark of :58 set on May 11, 2008 against the Chicago Wolves
Center Phillip Danault scored both of Rockford’s goals through regulation in Wednesday’s 3-2 victory, the first two playoff goals of his professional career
Danault finished Round 1 atop his team in point scoring, showing two goals and two assists through three games
All three of Rockford’s game-winning goals against the Stars came from rookies (Kirill Gotovets - Game 1, Tanner Kero - Game 2, Johns - Game 3)
The trio combined for 10 goals in 69 games played over the regular season
Goaltender Michael Leighton turned aside 39 of 41 shots on Wednesday, finishing the series with 106 saves on 111 shots against
Leighton’s .955 save percentage was the third-best mark posted in the first round, while his 1.67 goals against average is fifth among playoff goaltenders
Hot Hog: Week 30
Stephen Johns Defenseman (1GP, 1G, 6 Shots, +2)
Defenseman Stephen Johns made his first professional postseason goal one he will never forget, as he put an exclamation point on Rockford’s first-round sweep of the Texas Stars only 23 seconds into overtime in Game 3. After picking off a pass in the neutral zone, Johns walked down the right wing all alone, blowing past a defender before tucking a wrap-around inside the far post of goaltender Jussi Rynnas. The 23-year-old from Wampum, Penn. finished the series leading the IceHogs with 12 shots on goal, a mark that included six in the decisive Game 3. A cornerstone of the Rockford blue line in his first season as a pro, Johns put up 21 points (4g-17a) in 51 games during the regular campaign.
Western Conference Semifinals vs. Grand Rapids Griffins:
Game 1 - Wednesday, Mat 6 - 6 p.m. (at Van Andel Arena)
Game 2 - Friday, May 8 - 6 p.m. (at Van Andel Arena)
Game 3 - Wednesday, May 13 - 7 p.m. (at BMO Harris Bank Center)
Game 4 - Thursday, May 14 - 7 p.m. (at BMO Harris Bank Center)
Game 5 (If Necessary)- Sunday, May 17 - 4 p.m. (at BMO Harris Bank Center)
Game 6 (If Necessary)- Tuesday, May 19 - 6 p.m. (at Van Andel Arena)
Game 7 (If Neccesary)- Wednesday, May 20 - 6 p.m. (at Van Andel Arena)
The IceHogs Broadcasting Network:
Catch every game in Rockford’s quest for the Calder Cup on WIFR’s 23.2, “Antenna TV.” The games can also be viewed on Comcast Cable channel 436, Charter Cable channel 193 or Mediacom 101 in the Rockford market and online through AHLLive.com. Fans can also listen to the action for free on AHLLive.com. For a complete listing of TV stations carrying IceHogs games, visit IceHogs.com. Every broadcast will start with the IceHogs Warm Up 30 minutes prior to puck drop.
2015 Calder Cup Playoff Tickets On Sale Now:
Fans can reserve their seats for the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs by stopping by the BMO Harris Bank Center Box Office, calling (815) 968-5222, online through IceHogs.com or any Ticketmaster location. Individual game tickets for the Western Conference Semifinals start as low at $19.