The Texas Stars celebrate Jamie Benn's game winning goal 4:57 into the overtime period. (Photo credit: Chris Jerina)
The Texas Stars, in their first Game 7 ever, couldn't be kept out of it. After being down, 2-0 and 4-2 in the game, Texas came back to win it 6-5 in overtime. Matt Climie shook off two early goals like a true professional and made the saves when they were needed. And Jamie Benn stepped up to seal the deal. Let's get into the play-by-play.
What a crazy start to this game. Chicago started it out with a shot from behind the net by Spencer Machacek that deflected off of Climie's skate and into the net. This was the 3:22 mark. Just a minute later, Climie had his left pad on the puck, but a second effort from Brett Sterling put the puck over the goal line. Texas was down 2-0 just 4:22 into the game.
Texas decided that was no good and turned on the offense. Only 33 seconds later, Landon Wilson scored his second of the playoffs on a two on one with Travis Morin, halving the lead. Just twenty second after that, Scott McCulloch knotted it up at 2 on his first of the playoffs. Texas and Chicago had combined for four goals in 113 seconds. The Stars took the first penalty of the game but then Chicago took 3 straight. Usually, that's a good thing, but the Stars surrendered their first shorthanded goal of the playoffs with just under two minutes left in the period. Garrett Stafford walked right into Spencer Machacek on the breakout, and Machacek broke in on Matt Climie alone and beat him clean for a 3-2 lead that they would take to the break. Texas outshot Chicago 20-15 in the period.
The game slowed down a bit in the second as both teams settled in. Chicago and Texas each scored one in the period. The Wolves went first with a lethargic play by Texas. Joey Crabb and Tim Stapleton broke in two-on-one against Texas. Forward Francis Wathier didn't get back to support the defense in time, and Stapleton practically walked in on Matt Climie and elevated it over his left pad for the 4-2 lead. The Stars came back on an Aaron Gagnon breakaway opportunity to make it 4-3. The Stars and Chicago only combined for 17 shots in the period, with Texas leading 9-8 and overall 29-23. Texas had twenty minutes to tie it up.
And tie it up they would. Colton Sceviour and Jamie Benn broke into the zone with Maxime Fortunus trailing the play. Sceviour dropped a pass to the trailing Fortunus on the left wing side who one-timed it past MacIntyre to tie it at 4. Chicago would not be kept down though and tied it right back up. An unintentional pass from Brett Sterling landed on the stick of Jason Krog, who backhanded it to the net and beat Climie up top. The Stars trailed 5-4 with 10 minutes left in the game.
Andrew Hutchinson made sure that it wasn't the final score though. An icing call on the Wolves gave the Stars an offensive zone faceoff with a tired Wolves crew on the sheet. Texas's Travis Morin won the faceoff back to Fortunus who sent it to Andrew Hutchinson. Hutch slapped it home to tie it at 5. The Stars would close out the period with the score the same and go to overtime to decide it all. Warren Peters made sure it went to overtime by preventing a cross ice pass with just a few minutes left. Texas outshot the Wolves in the third 15-4 and 44-27 over the regulation periods.
Texas dominated play in the overtime. Continual offensive zone faceoffs wore down the Wolves. Texas outshot the Wolves 9-2 in the overtime period. On the 9th shot of the period for Texas, it was Jamie Benn ending it for the Stars 4:57 into the overtime period. An unassisted effort on the 53rd shot of the night made the Stars the official West Division champion.
Texas just took over the game in the third period. In the third period and overtime, Texas outshot the Wolves 24-6. 24-6! That's ridiculous for the Texas Stars. Our first game against Hamilton will be Friday night in Ontario.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Graham, Korostin, Shelast, Ty. Ludwig, Chupp, Gazdic (scratched)
Tonight's attendance was 3,958.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Chicago - May 11 2010