Texas Stars Rally Past Toronto, Advance to Calder Cup Finals

Wednesday, 06.4.2014 / 12:11 AM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Texas Stars Rally Past Toronto, Advance to Calder Cup Finals

Next up for the Texas Stars: The Calder Cup Finals and the St. John’s IceCaps. The Stars advanced to the AHL’s championship series with a 6-2 win over Toronto in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals Tuesday night at Cedar Park Center.

The Stars rallied from a 2-0 deficit Tuesday, scoring six unanswered goals including four in the third period. Brett Ritchie’s goal at 6:28 of the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and held up as the game-winner. Ritchie, Justin Dowling and Mike Hedden each had one goal and two assists in the game. Dustin Jeffrey tallied two goals and Matej Stransky also scored. Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 25 of 27 shots.

This will be the Stars second trip to the Calder Cup Finals in their five-year existence. They made it in their inaugural season (2009-10), losing to Hershey in six games. Their series with St. John’s opens Sunday in Cedar Park.

Tuesday’s game opened in familiar fashion. For the seventh straight time in the series the Marlies scored the first goal of the game. After Jerred Smithson won an offensive zone draw, Frazer McClaren scored off a shot from the top of the left circle to put the Marlies up 1-0 at the 2:19 mark of the first period.

The Marlies extended their lead to 2-0 just 23 seconds into the second period when Peter Holland directed a Carter Ashton pass on net off the rush, Nilstorp made the stop but then the puck found its way into the net.

Nilstorp had a couple of big stops just before the midway point of the period to keep the Stars within two goals and the Marlies held the 2-0 lead until late in the second, when the Stars struck for two goals in less than a minute to tie the game.

A little more than one minute after the Stars killed off a Toronto power play, Ritchie centered a puck from the corner to Hedden, who redirected the puck past Marlies goaltender Drew MacIntyre to make it a 2-1 game with 2:38 left in the period.

Just 51 seconds later the Stars scored on the power play to tie the game 2-2. After taking a pass from Dowling, Hedden sent a cross-ice pass to Jeffrey, who roofed a shot from the bottom of the left circle with 1:47 left in the second.

That set the stage for the Stars’ four-goal explosion in the third, which would propel them to the Calder Cup Finals.

With the Stars on the rush, Dowling set up Ritchie, who tapped the puck past MacIntyre from close range to put the Stars up 3-2 with 13:32 remaining. Just 17 seconds later, Stransky circled behind the net and scored off a shot from the right circle to make it a 4-2 game. Dowling tallied with 5:28 remaining to make it 5-2 and Jeffrey rounded out the scoring with a goal into an empty net.

Notes

*The Stars outshot Toronto 50-27. It was the third time in the series that the Stars hit the 50 shot mark.

*Brett Ritchie, Jamie Oleksiak and Maxime Fortunus led the Stars with five shots on goal each.

*The Stars were 1-4 on the power play and 4-4 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars have outscored their opponents 22-6 in the third period during the playoffs.

*Toronto scored first in all 14 of its playoff games.

*The Stars are now 3-0 all-time in Game 7’s.

*Texas forward Justin Dowling was back in the lineup after missing the last seven games with an injury. With Dowling in, Taylor Peters was a healthy scratch.

Calder Cup Finals Schedule

Game 1: Sun., June 8, St. John’s at Texas, 7:30
Game 2: Mon., June 9, St. John’s at Texas, 7:30
Game 3: Wed., June 11, Texas at St. John’s, 5:00
Game 4: Mon., June 16, Texas at St. John’s, 5:00
*Game 5: Tue., June 17, Texas at St. John’s, 5:00
*Game 6: Thu., June 19, St. John’s at Texas, 7:30
*Game 7: Mon., June 23, St. John’s at Texas, 7:30

Texas Stars lineup

Curtis McKenzieTravis Morin – Brendan Ranford
Dustin JeffreyChris MuellerScott Glennie
Mike Hedden – Justin Dowling – Brett Ritchie
Kevin Henderson – Radek FaksaMatej Stransky

Patrik NemethJyrki Jokipakka
Jamie OleksiakCameron Gaunce
Derek Meech – Maxime Fortunus

Cristopher Nilstorp
Josh Robinson

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 57 36 17 4 158 130 76
2 DAL 54 34 15 5 174 145 73
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 52 32 17 3 144 119 67
5 SJS 52 28 20 4 149 138 60
6 ANA 52 26 19 7 117 122 59
7 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
8 COL 56 27 25 4 149 155 58
9 MIN 53 23 20 10 130 130 56
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 53 21 20 12 123 143 54
12 CGY 52 24 25 3 138 151 51
13 WPG 53 24 26 3 137 151 51
14 EDM 55 21 29 5 133 166 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 54 28 33 16 61
T. Seguin 54 28 30 11 58
J. Klingberg 54 9 35 15 44
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 54 16 24 -1 40
A. Goligoski 54 4 20 17 24
C. Eakin 54 10 13 1 23
M. Janmark 54 10 10 13 20
J. Demers 48 7 12 16 19
V. Nichushkin 51 6 13 7 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 14 5 0 .909 2.82
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