ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)–It is beginning to feel like last year all over again for IceHogs’ fans. Last year the IceHogs swept their way through the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs only to get swept in the second round by eventual Calder Cup Champion Chicago. Now the Hogs, after sweeping Iowa in the first round, are in jeopardy of getting swept in round two by Texas.
The IceHogs dropped the first two-games in their best-of-five series to the Central Division champion Texas Stars losing both games in Rockford Friday night and Sunday afternoon. The formula now for advancing to the Central Division Finals is to win three straight games in Texas. The first of those three will be played Wednesday night in Cedar Park, north of Austin.
I asked IceHogs’ coach Anders Sorensen following Sunday’s loss how the IceHogs go about that challenge of winning three straight on the road.
“If you watch the playoffs it seems like you win more on the road these days,” said Sorensen. “If you watch the NHL and even the AHL you win a lot more, so if we play like we did here, I think we have a realy good chance. We have to take it one shift at a time, start one period, and then the first game down there win that one, and we’re feeling good about ourselves.”
No one needs to remind the IceHogs’ players that they’ll be playing in a possible elimination game Wednesday.
“Obviously the season’s on the line tomorrow, or Wednesday,” said forward Joey Anderson who has scored two goals in the series so far. “But you know, you’ve got to come with that jam and that effort that, you know, you can’t lose any battles, can’t do things like that, and you know I think we have enough guys in the room pulling the rope.”
“We can’t feel bad for ourselves,” said forward Brett Seney. “We can be upset until we leave this rink, and then we’ve just got go get ready for the next one.”
Let’s not forget the IceHogs had a good deal of success against the Stars during the regular season going 5-3 against them. And even though the IceHogs have been outscored 9-4 in the first two games of this series, they did have the lead 3-2 in the third period of game one, and they were down by only a goal most of the third period of game two.
But there’s no question they need to bring all the energy they can muster the remainder of this series, and they need to start putting pucks in the net, coming close clanking pucks off the posts and the crossbar won’t cut it.