Roope! Stars Advance to Finals on Rookie's Overtime-WinnerMay 28, 2018
CEDAR PARK, Texas - For the 37th time this season, the Texas Stars needed overtime to decide a winner and as they have done all season long, they found a way into the win column as Roope Hintz buried the game-winner for a 2-1 final over the Rockford IceHogs on Monday night at H-E-B Center in front of 5,961 fans in attendance to send the Stars to the Calder Cup Finals.
With 8.5 seconds remaining, Colin Markison forced a turnover behind the Rockford net and set up the Texas rookie in the slot for his fourth of the playoffs to earn the Stars the Robert W. Clarke trophy for the third time in franchise history as Western Conference Champions.
The Stars (11-4) will face the Toronto Marlies for the AHL's top prize. Game 1 will be Saturday at 3 p.m. CT in Toronto.
The Stars found themselves 1:34 away from clinching the series in regulation, but Rockford's Chris DiDomenico extended the Hogs' (9-4) life with an extra-attacker goal from the right circle to force overtime for the fourth time in last five games of the series.
After an animated first period that tested both goaltenders with 22 combined shots, the Stars opened up the scoring midway through the second on a friendly bounce. Sheldon Dries' centering pass from behind the net bounced off the back of Rockford's Jeff Glass and in the net for the rookie's seventh of the playoffs.
Mike McKenna of the Stars and Jeff Glass of the IceHogs traded saves throughout the night in what turned out to be an entertaining goaltending duel before Hintz finally ended the night. Both goaltender recorded 38 saves in the contest. Glass turned aside two chances from the Stars' Justin Dowling on an odd-man rush moments before DiDomenico tied the game in the third. He also held down the fort for Rockford through an overtime period where the Stars outshot the visitors, 11-4, to finally clinch the series.
Jason Dickinson tallied the secondary assist on Hintz's winner. Travis Morin of the Stars is the only player on the team's roster to play in all three Calder Cup Finals for Texas. Justin Dowling and Curtis McKenzie were members of the 2014 team that won the Calder Cup.
During that 2014 run, the Stars and Marlies met in a seven-game Western Conference Finals matchup.
Photo Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars