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IceHogs end drought with Game 1 win

Nearly seven years after their last win in a Calder Cup Playoff game, Rockford scored three times in the third period and defeated Texas, 4-2, in the opener of their Western Conference quarterfinal series at Cedar Park Center on Friday night.

Game 2 is set for Saturday.

The IceHogs had lost 10 consecutive playoff games dating back to their last win, a 5-1 victory at Chicago on May 9, 2008. Rockford dropped the final two games of that series, and were swept in best-of-seven matchups with Milwaukee in 2009 and Texas in 2010 before missing the playoff altogether each of the last four seasons.

The fourth seed in the Western Conference, Rockford grabbed an early 1-0 lead over the defending Calder Cup champions on Spencer Abbott‘s power-play goal 6:23 into the contest.

But Curtis McKenzie scored late in the second period and Julius Honka put the Stars up 2-1 with 4:24 gone by in the third.

Abbott tied the game back up during a 5-on-3 IceHogs power play, giving him six goals in eight playoff games vs. Texas over the last two postseasons.

Kirill Gotovets scored the tie-breaking goal with 7:41 remaining, and Ryan Hartman finished off the scoring with an empty-net tally at the 18:56 mark.

Michael Leighton made 33 saves for Rockford, on the seventh anniversary of his record 98-save effort in a quintuple-overtime loss while playing for the Albany River Rats in the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Jussi Rynnas stopped 33 of 36 shots in the loss for the Stars.