Curtis McKenzie and Julius Honka each scored goals, but it wasn't enough to secure a victory as the defending Calder Cup champion Texas Stars dropped a 4-2 decision to the Rockford IceHogs in Game 1 of the opening round of the AHL playoffs.
The Stars held a 2-1 lead early in the third period but were unable to lock it down, thanks in large part to four consecutive penalties in the frame that shifted most of the momentum in Rockford's favor. An empty-net goal at 18:56 sealed the deal.
Jussi Rynnas did his part, stopping 33 of 36 shots, but was one save behind IceHogs netminder Michael Leighton. It will be interesting to see if Texas head coach Derek Laxdal will instead roll with Jack Campbell, who was hot down the stretch leading to the playoffs, as his starter for the next game.
Honka led the Stars with five shots on net, and had the powerplay goal at 4:24 of the third period that temporarily gave his team the lead. Mattias Backman, who was acquired from the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade, had the only assist, his first point as a Texas Stars in only his second game with the team.
Rockford forward Spencer Abbott scored twice in the win.
Full game stats can be found here.
Game 2 comes already tomorrow night, starting at 7:00 CT.