The Rockford IceHogs took advantage of their dangerous power play and won Game 4 of the AHL's Western Conference finals on a man-advantage goal in overtime, 3-2, Thursday against the Texas Stars at BMO Harris Bank Center.
The IceHogs avoided playoff elimination, as Texas has a 3-1 series lead with Game 5 on Friday in Rockford.
Texas had a 2-1 lead in the third period thanks to power-play goals from Travis Morin and Matt Mangene. However, Rockford pushed back hard and Luke Johnson tipped a Cody Franson shot past Texas goalie Mike McKenna with 6:58 left in regulation.
Rockford had an 8-4 advantage in shots on goal in the third period and then dominated the overtime with a 6-2 edge. Colin Markison took a tripping penalty 32 seconds into the extra period, and Victor Ejdsell scored at 2:32 of overtime to get the win. McKenna stopped two shotsjust before the goal, but then Matthew Highmore collected a rebound and fed Ejdsell for the winner. Rockford leads the AHL playoffs with a 34.0 percent success rate on the power play.
Ejdsell finished with two goals and an assist for Rockford, and scored his second OT winner in the playoffs.
This was the third straight overtime game in the series, with Texas winning the previous two. The Stars are now 6-2 in playoff overtimes this season. They also saw an end to their eight-game playoff winning streak.
Texas was missing winger Remi Elie (injury) and defenseman Dillon Heatherington (illness). Austin Fyten and John Nyberg stepped in as replacements. Texas also lost defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk during the game when he was hit in the face with a puck.
Rockford made a big change in goal, as veteran Jeff Glass played his first game of the playoffs and stopped 28 of 30 shots. Glass replaced Collin Delia, who had allowed 13 goals in the first three games of the series.
The assumption is Glass will face McKenna in Game 5 of the series Friday. McKenna is 10-3 in the playoffs for Texas with a 2.00 goals against average and .940 save percentage.
If Rockford wins Game 5, the series will move back to Cedar Park for Game 6 Monday.
Travis Morin - Justin Dowling - Curtis McKenzie
Jason Dickinson - Sheldon Dries - Colin Markison
Joel L'Esperance - Roope Hintz - Brian Flynn
Samuel Laberge - Austin Fyten - Denis Gurianov
Andre Bodnarchuk - Brent Regner
John Nyberg - Reece Scarlett
Gavin Bayreuther - Matt Mangene
Western Conference Finals schedule (Texas leads 3-1)
Game 1 - Fri., May 18 - at Texas: Stars 4, IceHogs 2
Game 2 - Sun., May 20 - at Texas: Stars 3, IceHogs 2 (OT)
Game 3 - Tue., May 22 - at Rockford: Stars 6, IceHogs 5 (OT)
Game 4 - Thu., May 24 - at Rockford: IceHogs 3, Stars 2 (OT)
Game 5 - Fri., May 25 - Texas at Rockford, 7 p.m. CT
*Game 6 - Mon., May 28 - Rockford at Texas, 7 p.m. CT
*Game 7 - Tue., May 29 - Rockford at Texas, 7 p.m. CT
Photo credit: Rockford Ice Hogs
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.