The Chicago Blackhawks have been off the ice for over a month, but their minor league affiliate is looking to take another step toward a championship when they open the Western Conference Final against the Texas Stars on Friday night.
The Rockford IceHogs, who dispatched the Chicago Wolves and Manitoba Moose with back-to-back sweeps to open the Calder Cup Playoffs, will once again open their series on the road, but they’ll be hoping to get off to a good start in the best-of-seven series.
In just seven games, they’ve gotten some big-time production out of some of their key players. Center Chris DiDomenico, acquired via trade during the season, already has four goals and seven assists in those contests, and has been a driving force behind a potent offensive attack.
Defenseman Adam Clendening has also been in top form, with a goal and a team-high eight assists in the playoffs. In fact, blue liners are largely carrying the load for the IceHogs, as defensemen Cody Franson and Carl Dahlstrom have a combined 14 points so far.
While offense has been a big factor for Rockford, their penalty kill has been just as strong, allowing just two goals on 28 total opportunities in the postseason. That will be a key against a Texas offense that has gotten big production out of forward Brian Flynn, who has six goals and four assists in nine games.