After running through the Wolves, and moving past the Moose the IceHogs look to shoot past the Txas Stars in the western conference finals of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
“I think it will be a fast series,” says IceHogs forward Tyler Sikura. “They have a lot speed. I remember that from the time we played them. They play hard, and they have some skill. I think they’re built similarly to us in that sense.”
The Hogs and Texas Stars met four times in the regular season with Rockford winning all but one game. Their final two games were back-to-back matchups in early April where each team won a game. That weekend set the tone for the Hogs the rest of the way.
“They were two excellent games,” says IceHogs head coach Jeremy Colliton. “They challenged us, and we challenged them. I think we each won one. That was I think as preparation for us for playoffs it was excellent.”
“It’s good to kind of know who they’re good guys are,” says goaltender Collin Delia. “Obviously everyone can contribute in the playoffs, but to know who they’re going to feed the puck to, you know tendencies.”
Texas is 7-2 in the postseason. They defeated Ontario in four games in the opening round, and took down Tucson in five games in the second. But their success hasn’t come as easy as it might look. The Stars played in five overtime affairs, including one double overtime game. In those five games the Stars won four. Texas has figured out how to win close games.
“I mean they work hard,” says Delia. “They are tremendously hard working. They know how they’re going to play and they stick to it.”
Where the IceHogs have excelled this post season is in special teams. Rockford’s power play has been the best in the Calder Cup Playoffs. On the other side Texas has done a good job staying out of the box so the IceHogs will have to create more scoring chances when both teams are at full strength.
“We don’t mind that,” says Colliton. “I think we’re a pretty good five on five team. We like our depth so any opportunity we have to roll four lines, and increase the pace of the game we’re going to be pretty satisfied with that. We’re going to play for sixty minutes, and we believe over the sixty minutes it’s going to be enough. We’ll be better.”
Game one between the IceHogs and Stars will take place Friday, May 18 at 7 p.m. CT.