WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Tyler Sikura and John Hayden scored just 45 seconds apart to break a 1-1 tie in the third period and lift the Rockford IceHogs to a 4-2 victory over the Manitoba Moose at Bell MTS Place Friday night.
The win gives the IceHogs a 1-0 lead in the best-of- seven Division Finals series and pushes their unblemished record in the 2018 Calder Cup playoffs to 4-0-0-0.
With the contest knotted at one goal apiece, Sikura deflected Chris DiDomenico’s shot from the blue line into the back of the net at 3:29 of the final frame to push Rockford to its first lead of the and net the team’s ninth power-play tally in 24 opportunities. Moments later, Hayden doubled the Hogs’ lead with a one-timer at 4:14.
Rockford’s 3-1 lead remained until Cody Franson notched an empty-net marker with 58 seconds left to seal his team’s win, despite a late Moose tally 20 seconds later, and the Hogs skated to a 4-2 triumph. Franson, along with DiDomenico and Adam Clendening boasts points in each of the IceHogs’ four playoff outings thus far.
Manitoba started on the right foot in the tilt, as Buddy Robinson sent the hosts into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead after finding twine at 16:56 of the opening stanza. Rockford then equalized in the second period behind Victor Ejdsell’s third goal in his last two games, setting the stage for their attack in the final frame.
Rockford goaltender Collin Delia earned his fourth consecutive victory with 24 saves on 26 shots, while Manitoba’s Eric Comrie stopped 27 of 30 in the opposite cage. Delia has now turned aside 135 of 143 total shots in postseason play. R.