Stars goalie Matt Climie prepares for a Bears shot. Climie stopped 25 of 28 shots in the game. (Photo credit: Brian Hackert)
If nothing else, the Stars game at home is getting better. After only playing solid hockey for 30 minutes on Monday, the Stars improved their game to a solid 55 minutes. A mental mistake penalty in the last 3 minutes was the dagger in the heart of the Stars tonight. It's still not 60. Texas is now tied with the Bears at two in this best of seven series for the right to hoist the Cup.
The Stars yielded the first goal on the power play. With Francis Wathier in the box for a slash, Keith Aucoin whipped one past Matt Climie from the goal line to make it 1-0. Texas would even it up before the period was over though on Greg Rallo's 3rd of the playoffs. Rallo got a pass slid over to him from Dan Jancevski, which he sent gloveside high on Neuvirth from the top of the circles. Texas finished the period with the shots lead at 9-8.
Texas took the lead in the second, taking advantage of a Hershey penalty. Perttu Lindgren shuffled down from the point and whipped one in stickside high on Neuvirth. The lead would not last long though as Jay Beagle evened it up with his second of the postseason. The Stars went to the locker room tied at 2 after 2, not a bad position for them historically.
And Texas managed to lock it down for most of the period until a bench minor for too many men unraveled the entire plan. "It's our responsibility on the bench to make sure we have the right guys out there," Coach Gulutzan said postgame, "As the head coach, you gotta take responsibility for those things." The ensuing power play saw the Bears take the lead with 128 seconds left in the game. It was John Carlson's first postseason goal, which earned him the #1 star of the game. Only ten seconds after the goal, Scott McCulloch took an ill-advised boarding call and Texas would spend the rest of the game on the penalty kill, eventually yielding an empty netter to set the final score at 4-2. Hershey won the shots battle in the game 29-28.
"We're gonna forget about it and it's a best of three," said Stars forward Jamie Benn, who has yet to score a goal on the series. This is not unfamilar territory for the Stars though, and it's the same place they'd be if every game had been won by the home team. Regarding the road-team advantage, Benn commented, "That's just the way it goes for this series".
Looking forward to Friday, Stars center Greg Rallo reminds us, "We've been here before, and we know what we need to do."
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Hutchinson (knee, day-to-day)
Chupp, Korostin, Shelast, Ty. Ludwig, Gazdic (scratched)
Tonight's attendance was 7,032, which bested the previous record by 18 people. Coach Gulutzan commented positively on the atmosphere and added, "We would really like to reward [the crowd with a win]".
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Hershey - June 9 2010