Andrew Hutchinson rips a shot on net past Hamilton's Mike Glumac (Photo credit: Brian Hackert)
Following two 60-plus minute games at home, the Texas Stars would only need 60 to decide the game tonight. They probably wouldn't have minded if the game was called after 40. An anemic offensive effort for the Stars and solid goaltending from Curtis Sanford put one more nail in Texas's playoff coffin. "We were a little flat," said Coach Gulutzan, "[Hamilton] definitely deserved to win."
The Bulldogs took an early advantage with Ryan Russell potting a power play tally. Jamie Benn took the penalty, a questionable call for holding where Benn fell down and the guy he was standing next to came with him. Russell scored off the rebound to make it 1-0 13 minutes in. Climie talked about the goal, "My stick got tangled up with [Jancevski] in front and I couldn't really recover from it." The goal would prove to be the game winner.
Hamilton piled it on in the second period, scoring two more goals for insurance. Mike Glumac collected a rebound in the low slot and fired it past Climie just past the 3 minute mark. David Desharnais added his 9th of the postseason with 5 minutes left in the period, roofing a shot over Matt Climie after skating in practically unabated.
Texas had their chances, but nothing came of them. Benn mused, "We just gotta keep it simple and put pucks on net. We might be doing a little too much out there and I think we just gotta start shooting." Texas had a certain lack of execution in the game tonight. The passing game reverted to mid-season form with basic forehand to forehand passes missing the mark or bouncing off the stick. "We needed to win puck battles and we didn't have that tonight," added Coach Gulutzan. And indeed, it did seem that Hamilton was the team leaving the scrum more often with the puck than Texas.
When you add to this equation a 33-23 shots advantage for Hamilton and eight power play chances in the game, it becomes difficult to formulate a winning game plan. Texas now faces elimination in Game 6 and will have to win both of their contest in Hamilton for the right to play Hershey for the Calder Cup.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Wilson (day-to-day, unspecified injury)
Korostin, Shelast, Ty. Ludwig, Chupp, Gazdic (scratched)
Tonight's attendance was 5,020.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Hamilton - May 22 2010