Stars Sweep IceHogs, Advance to Division FinalsMay 3, 2023
The Texas Stars decisively defeated the Rockford IceHog to advance to the AHL Central Division Finals. Texas took the series three games to zero.
“We’re obviously pleased with the series win and getting [the first] playoff game back here in Cedar Park since 2018. Our fans deserved victory, and our guys played hard for him,” said Texas Stars head coach Neil Graham.
The Stars were lead defensively by goaltender Matt Murray. Murray made 27 saves against 29 shots. Rockford’s final goal came in the final seconds of the game when Lukas Reichel crammed the puck between Murray’s pads.
“In the third, they kind of came at us and he made some huge saves,” said Texas center Rhett Gardner. “He’s been our backbone and definitely gives us a little more confidence in front of him.”
Texas spread the wealth offensively with eight players earning points. Rhett Gardner and Oskari Laaksonen each tallied a goal and an assist. Both goals came in the final frame, with Gardner’s coming on a power play. The Stars were 1-for-4 on power plays.
The Stars’ Riley Damiani opened the scoring in the third minute of the game. Rockford’s Michal Teply evened the score five minutes later. Texas’ Nick Caamano reclaimed the lead five minutes after that.
Second period play was very tight, with neither team scoring. Texas was held to two shots on goal and Rockford seven.
IceHog netminder Arvid Soderblom endured the loss, allowing four goals against 26 shots.
Texas advances to the Central Division finals, playing the winner of the Manitoba Moose and Milwaukee Admirals semifinal match up