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IceHogs edge Aeros to take 3-1 series lead


ROCKFORD 2, HOUSTON 1

Kris Versteeg tallied the eventual game-winning goal at 13:32 of the third period as Rockford captured a 2-1 road win over Houston on Thursday at the Toyota Center.

Goaltender Corey Crawford turned aside 30 of 31 shots for the IceHogs, who now hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Rockford can close out the Aeros in Game 5 on Friday in Houston.

In what has been a defensive battle all series long, the teams were scoreless until the 12:49 mark of the third, when Rockford’s Petri Kontiola netted his first goal of the playoffs.

Versteeg made it 2-0 just 45 seconds later with his first marker of postseason play.

That goal would prove big, as Aeros forward Marco Rosa netted his second goal in as many games at the 16:02 mark, cutting the deficit in half.

Crawford has stopped 100 of 104 shots for a .962 save percentage and 0.90 GAA over the first four games of the series.


CHICAGO 4, MILWAUKEE 1
Chicago jumped out to a 4-0 lead and cruised to a 4-1 win over visiting Milwaukee in Game 5 of their West Division semifinal at the Allstate Arena.

Brett Sterling scored just 1:59 after the opening face-off for the Wolves, and Darren Haydar made it 2-0 at the 9:17 mark.

Brian Fahey and Joe Motzko added second-period markers, while Jason Krog and Steve Martins posted a pair of assists apiece.

Chicago goaltender Ondrej Pavelec was on his way to the shutout, but Milwaukee’s Mark Matheson scored with just eight seconds left in the game.

Pavelec finished with 26 saves on 27 shots in the victory. Chicago can close out the series in Game 6 on Saturday in Milwaukee.