Rockford IceHogs fall 6-5 to Texas Stars in overtime in Game 3

The IceHogs lose a heartbreaker despite tying the game with under a minute left in regulation.

As the Texas Stars rushed the ice to celebrate Curtis McKenzie’s game-winning goal 5 minutes into overtime of Game 3 on Tuesday, the Rockford IceHogs and 2,923 home fans voiced their frustrations with the officiating crew.

It looked like Texas was able to score with too many men on the ice, along with a boarderline call of the Stars being offsides on the final play after the puck bounced along the blue line.

The goal stood and Texas earned a 6-5 win to take a 3-0 series in the Western Conference Final over the IceHogs.

Rockford must win Game 4 on Thursday to avoid elimination.

The night started off well for the IceHogs, with Tyler Sikura scoring his fifth goal of the postseason for a 1-0 lead.

Texas, however, answered quickly with a power-play goal just 3 minutes later on a blistering shot from Curtis McKenzie. After John Hayden scored at the 12:10 mark, the Stars tallied two goals in under a minute to take a 3-2 lead into the first intermission.

With Rockford looking to attack early in the second period, the IceHogs evened the game on a Gustav Forsling — his first of the playoffs — shot just north of the face-off circles. Luke Johnson put the IceHogs ahead on a great feed from Matthew Highmore just in front of the goal crease midway through the second.

From struggling to maintain their offensive zone in the first period to outshooting the Stars in the second, the IceHogs opened the third with a handful of scoring chances.

With names like Chris DiDomenico, Cody Franson and Victor Edjsell not on the scoresheet, Rockford’s top line tried to push the team to a two-goal lead. But Texas weathered the storm, and finished the third  with a 10-5 deficit in shots on goal. However, a great move off a bad turnover in the Texas zone saw Sheldon Dries tied the game midway through the final stanza. Then, the Stars took the lead with a goal at the 14:30 mark when Austin Fyten gave Texas the lead.

But Rockford found the equalizer with 50 second left in regulation, as Cody Franson blasted home the game-tying-goal that sent the BMO Harris Bank Center into a frenzy.

McKenzie scored his second goal of the game in overtime to build Texas’ win streak to seven.

Despite the controversy of a missed offsides call, IceHogs coach Jeremy Collition is focused on one task — winning Game 4.

“We just couldn’t find a way to get it done,” Colliton said. “But it’s over now. We’ve gotta find a way to win a game. I don’t feel like it’s a 3-0 series, and we’re going to try and prolong it.”

SCH’s Three Stars of the Game

  1. Curtis McKenzie (TEX) - 2 goals, 1 assist, GWG
  2. Chris DiDomenico (RFD) - 3 assists
  3. Sheldon Dries (TEX) - 2 goals