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Texas Stars Rally for OT Win, Take 3-1 Lead in Calder Cup Finals

Monday, 06.16.2014 / 11:49 PM / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Texas Stars Rally for OT Win, Take 3-1 Lead in Calder Cup Finals
The Texas Stars moved to within one win of their first Calder Cup in franchise history, rallying from a 0-3 deficit to defeat the St. John\u2019s IceCaps 4-3 in overtime.

The Texas Stars moved to within one win of their first Calder Cup in franchise history, rallying from a 0-3 deficit to defeat the St. John’s IceCaps 4-3 in overtime Monday night at Mile One Centre. Travis Morin scored the game-winner 2:24 into overtime, pushing the Stars’ lead in the Calder Cup Finals to 3-1.

“All playoffs long we’ve got down early a bit,” Morin told Leafs TV. “The whole Toronto series (Western Conference Finals) we were playing from behind and in the first round against Oklahoma City we did it, coming from behind and winning in overtime. We have a lot of great character in there, guys who gut it out. Everybody contributes. It just shows our heart. We got down, we weren’t playing well the first half of the game and we still found a way.”

Morin, who had two goals and one assist, capped off the Texas rally early in overtime, taking a pass from Brendan Ranford and beating IceCaps goaltender Michael Hutchinson with a one-timer. It was the second straight OT winner for Morin, who scored to give Texas a 2-1 victory in Game 3 of the series.

“It’s the same as last game. It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Morin. “We’ve got one more to go. It’s going to be a tough one to get, the fourth one is always the hardest but for the next hour or so we are really going to enjoy this one.”

Game 5 is Tuesday in St. John’s.

“It’s a tough loss,” said St. John’s coach Keith McCambridge. “Anytime you have a lead like we did and it slowly slips out of your grasp at a crucial time of the year, it is a tough pill to swallow for the guys in that room. … We’ll need to come in tomorrow and get our focus where it needs to be, which is on one game.”

The Stars were badly outplayed over the first half of Monday’s game. They were outshot 29-6 and outscored 3-0, but the second half of the game was a different story. The Stars outshot St. John’s 31-6, getting goals from Morin and Curtis McKenzie late in the second to cut the lead to 3-2, and then a goal from Brett Ritchie with 2:09 left in the third to tie.

“We didn’t give up. We knew if we got one maybe something good could happen. We were fortunate it did,” Texas coach Willie Desjardins said. “It was getting those two goals at the end of the second. That gave us some life, thinking that maybe we had a chance in the third.”

The IceCaps dominated the first period, outshooting the Stars 21-5 and scoring the only goal, which came while they were shorthanded.

With the Stars on their second power play of the game, St. John’s won an offensive zone draw and defenseman Ben Chiarot scored off a shot from the point at the 13:02 mark.

Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp, who made 32 saves on the night, was outstanding in the first, stopping 20 shots and getting some help from defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, who stopped IceCaps forward John Albert’s wrap-around bid into an open side of the net in the final minute of the period.

“That was probably their best period of the series and maybe our worst of the playoffs,” Stars forward Chris Mueller told Leafs TV.

Things didn’t get better early in the second for the Stars. The IceCaps made it 2-0 just 57 seconds into the period when Carl Klingberg beat Nilstorp with a close range backhand shot off the rush.

The Stars got into penalty trouble later in the period, putting the IceCaps on a 38 second five-on-three and St. John’s forward Kael Mouillierat tallied to make it a 3-0 game at the 9:13 mark.

“For a while there weren’t a lot of positives,” Desjardins said. “When the shots were 29-6 there weren’t a lot of positives. Guys knew we weren’t playing good and that we had to play better.”

And it was all Texas for the rest of the second period. The Stars outshot the IceCaps 16-2 over the final half of the period and scored twice to make it a 3-2 game heading into the final period. Morin finished off a pass from Ranford to make it a 3-1 game at the 15:33 mark.

The Stars struck again at the 18:09 mark when Ranford put a shot on goal off the rush and McKenzie knocked home the rebound to cut the IceCaps’ lead to one.

The Stars outshot the IceCaps 15-4 in the third and had several chances to tie before finally getting the equalizer. A Ritchie shot from the right circle got through Hutchinson and appeared to cross the goal line with just over 11 minutes remaining, but the goal was waved off. It then went to a video review and was waved off again. Ritchie’s point blank bid with 5:57 remaining was stopped by Hutchinson, and three minutes later a Dustin Jeffrey shot rang off the crossbar.

But a minute later Oleksiak sent a cross-ice to pass to Justin Dowling, who tapped the puck to Ritchie and the Stars rookie scored from the slot to tie the game 3-3 with 2:09 remaining and send it to overtime, setting the stage for Morin’s game-winner.

Notes

*Texas improved to 5-0 in overtime in the playoffs. St. John’s is 0-3 in playoff overtime.

*Travis Morin has scored the last two overtime winning goals for Texas.

*Morin became only the third player in AHL history to score two overtime goals in the same Calder Cup Finals series.

*Morin has scored all three game-winning goals for Texas in the Calder Cup Finals.

*Morin leads the playoffs in scoring with 22 points (9 goals, 13 assists) in 20 games. His nine goals are tied for first.

*Brendan Ranford registered three assists in Monday’s game.

*Texas outshot St. John’s 38-35. Ranford led the Stars with six shots on goal. Brett Ritchie had five.

*The Stars were 0-3 on the power play and 3-4 on the penalty kill.

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
Jack Campbell

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

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 64 41 16 7 192 155 89
2 ANA 64 40 17 7 189 177 87
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 WPG 64 32 20 12 179 172 76
6 VAN 62 36 23 3 180 167 75
7 MIN 62 33 22 7 176 161 73
8 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
9 LAK 62 29 21 12 166 162 70
10 SJS 64 31 25 8 179 181 70
11 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
12 DAL 63 27 26 10 196 210 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 63 23 37 -3 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 63 15 37 -5 52
E. Cole 57 18 15 4 33
T. Daley 60 16 17 -10 33
J. Klingberg 49 10 23 1 33
C. Eakin 60 14 14 -2 28
A. Hemsky 57 9 17 -9 26
A. Goligoski 63 2 24 1 26
A. Roussel 61 12 11 -11 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 25 13 10 .905 2.97
J. Enroth 13 25 2 .900 3.30
 
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