After winning seven straight games to start the playoffs, the Rockford IceHogs have dropped two straight following a 3-2 overtime loss to the Texas Stars in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final on Sunday at H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, Texas.
Curtis McKenzie scored 10:46 into overtime for the Stars to take a 2-0 series lead. McKenzie gathered a loose puck in front of the net and put it past Rockford goaltender Collin Delia for his third game-winning goal of the Calder Cup playoffs.
Game 3 is Tuesday in Rockford, where the IceHogs are 3-0 in this year’s playoffs.
Jason Dickinson and Brett Regner also scored for Texas, who are two wins away from their second Calder Cup Final appearance in four years. Texas goalie Mike McKenna made 24 saves.
John Hayden and Chris DiDomenico found the back for Rockford, while defenseman Adam Clendening had two assists. Delia stopped 34 of 37 shots in the loss.
The IceHogs, the Chicago Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, found themselves in unfamiliar territory early — scoring the first goal. Andreas Martinsen sent a pass down to the slot to Hayden, who beat McKenna to give Rockford a 1-0 lead six minutes into the game.
It was only the second time in the playoffs the IceHogs have scored first.
Rockford’s defense and Delia held Texas at bay for the first of the first before the Stars leveled the scoring early in the second. Dickinson and Regner each scored within six minutes of each other to give Texas a 2-1 lead before the midway mark in the middle frame.
DiDomenico tied the game with a wrist shot past McKenna and tucked underneath the crossbar. DiDomenico has a league-high 14 points and his six goals are tied for a league-high.