In Game 5 of their Calder Cup Playoffs series against the Texas Stars, an early lead helped the Rockford IceHogs capture a critical 3-1 victory. The win now cuts the Stars series lead to 3-2.
First period goals from Cody Franson and Luke Johnson gave the Chicago Blackhawks American Hockey League affiliate a running start and a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes of play.
Franson, a veteran with more than 500 games worth of NHL experience, has been a huge presence for the IceHogs. The 30-year-old defenseman scored his sixth goal of the postseason on Friday night, extending his point streak to four games. He also dropped the gloves against Curtis McKenzie.
Johnson now has goals in three straight contests. With the primary assist on Johnson's goal, rookie forward Victor Ejdsell continued his own hot streak. Ejdsell now has four points in his last two games, and 12 points overall.
Adam Clendening's assist on Johnson's goal was his 12th helper of the postseason - the most in the league.
Roope Hintz gave the Stars their first goal of the game at 9:17 of the second period, cutting the IceHogs lead to 2-1.
In the third, David Kampf fired a shot, which bounced past Mike McKenna, to give the IceHogs a 3-1 lead with less than half a period to go. That proved to be enough, as Jeff Glass finished the game with 40 saves and his second straight win.
Game 6 of the AHL Western Conference Final takes place in Texas on Monday at 7 p.m. CT.