There will be a new Calder Cup champion in 2015.
Rookie defenseman Stephen Johns scored just 23 seconds into overtime as the Rockford IceHogs completed a first-round sweep of the Texas Stars with a 3-2 victory in Game 3 on Wednesday night.
On the first shift of the OT period, Johns picked off a Texas pass near the right-wing wall at center ice and brought the puck into the offensive zone, got around a Stars defender, circled behind the cage and tucked a wraparound home behind Jussi Rynnas to send the IceHogs into the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Phillip Danault scored twice in regulation for Rockford, his second goal coming with 10:09 remaining to tie the game at 2-2.
Michael Leighton (3-0) turned aside 39 of 41 shots to pick up the win for the IceHogs. Rynnas (0-2) made 38 saves for Texas.
Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “H” (best-of-5)
4-Rockford IceHogs vs. 5-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 24 – Rockford 4, TEXAS 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 25 – Rockford 4, TEXAS 1
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 29 – ROCKFORD 3, Texas 2 (OT)