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Rockford IceHogs survive 3rd straight OT, win 3-2 to keep season alive

Victor Ejdsell scores the game-winning goal to lift the IceHogs over the Stars in Game 4.

Brad Repplinger - Second City Hockey

ROCKFORD — The Rockford IceHogs brought home the bacon for the first time in the Western Conference Final, as Victor Ejdsell scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime in a 3-2 victory over the Texas Stars 3-2 in Game 4 on Thursday night at BMO Harris Bank Center.

Rockford will host Game 5 on Friday night.

Starting the game with much better intensity than Game 3, the IceHogs jumped out to an early lead after Ejdsell rifled home a bouncing puck in the offensive zone. Ejdsell’s sixth goal of the Calder Cup playoffs put a charge into the home crowd, and Rockford would continue to pressure the Stars throughout the rest of the opening period as the Hogs out-shot the Stars 16 to 14.

Texas would get even, however, after the IceHogs buried themselves with back-to-back penalties. The 5-on-3 disadvantage proved to be too much to handle for Rockford, and both teams headed to the dressing rooms tied 1-1 at the first intermission.

What looked to be a “well-survived” second period turned into disaster after Matt Mangene scored with under a minute left in the period, taking all of the momentum into the Texas locker room with 20 minutes remaining.

With their season on the line, and a constant struggle to maintain offensive pressure throughout the early stages of the third period, Cody Franson threw the puck at the Texas crease that was re-directed by Luke Johnson to tie the game with seven minutes left in regulation. Johnson’s third goal of the playoffs sent the home crowd into complete elation, and the IceHogs outlasted the Stars to force overtime.

In the third consecutive overtime game of the series, the IceHogs found a golden opportunity to win the game after Texas was shorthanded thanks to a tripping call a mere 37 seconds into overtime. Ejdsell capitalized on the power play with his second game-winner in this year’s playoffs and his seventh goal overall.