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Rockford IceHogs win 4-1, take commanding 2-0 series lead

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Blackhawks AHL affiliate have the defending Calder Cup champions on the brink of elimination.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Michael Leighton stopped 34 of 35 shots to help the Rockford IceHogs take a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five first-round series as the IceHogs defeated the Texas Stars 4-1 on Saturday at Cedar Park Center.

The IceHogs held a 2-0 lead into the third period, and Texas started to duplicate Rockford's effort in Game 1 with a late rally. Texas' forward Brett Ritchie fired a shot that Leighton stopped, and the IceHogs net minder fell to his back to cover the puck but it slipped past the goal line at 11:58 to cut the lead in half.

Texas continued to mount pressure on Leighton but every shot, every deflection he saw come is way he stopped.

Only 11 seconds into a Derek Meech penalty, Stephen Johns found Peter Regin, who sent the puck into the open net to regain a two-goal lead with less than four minutes left remaining in the third. Brandon Mashinter sealed the victory with an empty-net goal to cap his three point (one goal, two assists) night.

Jack Campbell allowed three goals on 27 shots for Texas.

The IceHogs struck twice in the opening period to give Leighton all he needed. Garret Ross scored his first playoff goal off a rebound at 9:28. Tanner Kero continued his hot streak with his sixth goal in eight games at 18:01 for a two-goal lead.

Three IceHogs recorded two points on the night: Johns (two assists), Regin (goal, assist) and Ville Pokka (two assists).

The IceHogs host their first Calder Cup Playoff game since 2010 on Wednesday for Game 3 at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

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