IceHogs’ miracle run continues into Western Conference Final

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Will Sieracki, Reporter

     The story of this year’s Calder Cup playoffs has been the dominance of the Rockford IceHogs. The IceHogs entered the playoffs as the lowest seeded team in their division, but dominated the #1 seeded Chicago Wolves in a three game sweep and swept the Manitoba Moose last round to remain undefeated heading into the conference finals, where they will face off against the Texas Stars Friday.

 

     The highlights of the IceHogs’ run have been the series-clinching games so far. Game 3 against the Chicago Wolves went to triple overtime with the IceHogs recording 76 shots in the 4-3 win, and Game 4 versus Manitoba was a 6-3 win for Rockford, with goals and penalties galore.

 

     In any sport, there’s nothing quite like a playoff atmosphere. BMO Harris Bank Center was rollicking the whole time. It felt like being at a Blackhawks game.  The IceHogs opened the scoring on a power play goal from Cody Franson 5:37 into the game, but the Moose tied the game on a goal from Julian Melchiori roughly midway through the first period. Rockford responded quickly thanks to forward Chris DiDomenico, only to have the Moose tie the game at two on a shorthanded goal from JC Lipon. The game may have been tied after the first period, but the IceHogs took control of the game soon after and stayed in control.

 

     Rockford responded with four straight goals, three on the power play. Carl Dahlstrom scored to make the game 3-2, then it became 4-2 on a penalty shot from Victor Ejdsell. The game was put away for good when Franson scored his second power play goal of the night, and Andreas Martinsen added to their advantage with an empty net goal. The Moose scored to cut the deficit to 6-3 with ten seconds remaining, but it was too little, too late. The IceHogs have moved on and are now preparing for Game 1 against Texas tonight.