ROCKFORD, Ill. — The Rockford IceHogs fell 5-3 in Game 1 to the Texas Stars after the visitors scored three unanswered goals in the third period. Joey Anderson, D.J. Busdeker, and Bobby Lynch all scored their first career Calder Cup Playoff goals in the loss.
Despite Texas scoring first and taking a 1-0 lead halfway through the first period, Rockford brought the fans back to life and tied the game 1-1 on the power play with two seconds left in the initial frame.
The Stars took the lead in the middle of the first after forward Rhett Gardner stick-checked Rockford forward Lukas Reichel in Texas’ defensive zone. Skating up the ice, forward Nicholas Caamano carried the puck into the IceHogs’ zone and dropped back a pass that Gardner netted from the right circle behind Rockford netminder Arvid Soderblom at 12:34.
After Gardner was charged with a slashing minor at 19:00 in the first period, the Hogs went on their first power-play opportunity of the contest. With just seconds left in the first period, defenseman Alex Vlasic fired a shot from the right point, and forward Joey Anderson got his stick on the shot and deflected the disc past Texas goaltender Matthew Murray at 19:58, scoring his first career postseason goal.
Throughout the game, Head Coach Anders Sorensen continued to utilize the third line of Buddy Robinson, Michal Teply, and D.J. Busdeker to set a physical tone and create time in the offensive zone. The line gave Rockford its first lead of the match early in the second period when Busdeker scored his first Calder Cup Playoff goal at 1:16. Catching a pass from Robinson on the right side of the goal line, Busdeker shoveled a shot past the glove of Murray, and the Hogs took a 2-1 lead.
Evening the score 2-2 later in the middle frame after a turnover in Rockford’s zone, Texas forward Marian Studenic flicked a wrister past the blocker of Soderblom at 14:33.
Rockford forward Bobby Lynch tallied his first Calder Cup Playoff goal at 2:47 to start the action of the final frame and give the IceHogs a 3-2 lead. After a shot sailed over the crossbar, the rebound ricocheted out to Vlasic on the left point. Murray shrugged off Vlasic’s shot, but Lynch punched the loose puck over the glove of the sprawling Texas goalie.
The Stars scored three unanswered goals to secure a 5-3 win in Game 1 and take a 1-0 lead in the best of five series. Texas forward Scott Reedy punched a power-play goal past the glove of Soderblom at 7:16 to tie the game 3-3, Caamano tapped in a pass from forward Mavrik Bourque from the slot at 16:22 to take a 4-3 lead, and Studenic flicked in an empty-netter at 19:00 to close out the 5-3 victory after Soderblom was pulled in favor of the extra skater at 18:16.
Soderblom suffered his fourth career Calder Cup Playoff loss with 35 saves on 39 Texas shots, and Murray earned his first career postseason win with 25 saves on 28 Rockford shots.
Game 2 with the Stars will be played at the BMO Center on Sunday, April 30 at 4 p.m.
For highlights and game recap watch the media player above.