The Texas Stars pulled off a stunner of a game tonight in Hershey, winning 4-3 to take a 2-0 series lead going back to three games in Cedar Park. Texas never trailed in the game and has now won 4 straight road games.
Texas struck first in the game with an early tally just 60 seconds in. Jamie Benn and Colton Sceviour combined to breakout Aaron Gagnon who skated in alone and beat Michal Neuvirth with a slow dribbler through his legs. It was Gagnon's 7th goal of the playoffs and the first time Texas had scored first in a game since Game 4 of the West Division finals against Chicago.
The Stars would give one back just as quickly though, as they did all night. The seesaw began when Steve Pinizzotto scored a shorthanded goal at 7:40 of the first. With Texas on the power play, Coach Gulutzan had Perttu Lindgren, a forward, at the point with Garrett Stafford. Lindgren mishandled the puck and Pinizzotto went in alone, beating Climie glove side high from the top of the left-wing circle. Texas and Hershey were even on goals (1) and shots (7) to end the period.
The back and forth continued in the second with Texas again going first. Garrett Stafford fired one from the point on the power play that beat Neuvirth. Wilson was in front tying up the man and blocking vision, which is a great role for him and a good example for younger players on the team. The crowd in the Cedar Park Center had barely quieted down when Hershey got the tying goal, a one-timer from the point from Francis Bouchard that beat Climie stick-side.
The goal per period pace of the game continued in the third. Texas, again, went first. Perttu Lindgren, who got a well-deserved second star in the game, split the two defensemen coming down the middle and dished a pass to Mathieu Beaudoin, who was unguarded on the back door. The tap-in goal was Beaudoin's 4th of the playoffs and set the score at 3-2.
Hershey would respond just past the halfway point of the period. Patrick Wellar's point shot kicked off Matt Climie's pads to the stick of Andrew Gordon, who potted his 11th of the postseason and tied it at 3 all. Texas got into some penalty trouble in the middle of the third that looked to threaten the tied score. With Jamie Benn already in the box for cross-checking, Matt Stephenson took a double minor for high sticking. Texas managed to kill the penalty and goad Bears captain Boyd Kane into taking a double minor for an attempted spear. The Stars PP would not score, leaving Texas with 57 second between them and overtime.
Overtime was not necessary though; Travis Morin ensured that. Just a few seconds after the Stars PP expired, a rush by Texas came up with a goal. Scott McCulloch, the hero of Game 1, got a shot in on Neuvirth that bounced out to a seemingly impossible angle on the right-wing side. Texas forward Mathieu Beaudoin was there and just flung it on net. The puck ticked off Neuvirth's glove and rainbowed into the net. With 46 seconds left, Texas was up 4-3. Hershey would take the ensuing faceoff with an empty net but would not prevail, with multiple offsides calls with the extra attacker hampering their offensive chances.
Hershey cannot chalk this game up to unfamiliarity. The Stars were a known quantity tonight and the Bears simply did not have the solutions. Coach French sounded frustrated with the Bears play during his postgame press conference, which you can listen to below.
Here is Coach Gulutzan's postgame:
Here is Coach French's postgame.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Chupp, Korostin, Shelast, Ty. Ludwig, Tr. Ludwig, Gazdic (scratched)
Tonight's attendance was 10,872. The attendance tonight was the largest crowd to ever see a Bears home game.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Hershey - June 5 2010