Sunday, June 8, 2014

Glennie, Morin Power Texas to 6-3 Win In Finals Opener

Dustin Jeffrey adds three assists in high octane offensive win over St. John's IceCaps
Scott Glennie's first goal, assisted by Dustin Jeffrey.
(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Home ice had been the Stars' bread and butter all season. Texas continued that dominance with a 6-3 win over the IceCaps in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals. Scott Glennie and Travis Morin each had two goals as the Stars took a 1-0 series lead in the Finals.

Even so, Coach Desjardins sees room for improvement, "We know we have to be better. They came at us all night. They have a good transition game, and I expected them to be good. I didn't know they'd be that good."

Scott Glennie had his best game of the playoffs, assisting on the opening goal on the power play and scoring one of his own late in the second. He added an assist and a fight as well. The entire line was good as Dustin Jeffrey had three assists, and Chris Mueller had a breakaway goal and an assist.

"More than chemistry, that line has talent. They're talented players and their skating ability allows them to find players. Glennie's a great skater and has good skill. When he is healthy, he is a really good player."

Not to be out done, Travis Morin added two goals himself. Morin and the Stars used their regular-season best power play to inflict the first cut, breaking up a streak of 34 straight killed penalties by St. John's. They also scored first for the first time in eight games, dating back to Game 5 against Grand Rapids. The usually high shooting Texas Stars only had four shots in the second period but scored three goals anyways.

"You don't score three out of four. We had some good chances, but that second period wasn't good enough."

The IceCaps actually beat the Stars on shots in the second, third and overall in the game.

For a series where the teams had never met before franchise history, the first five minutes at least were set to be a feeling out period.

"They came out really fast," said Dustin Jeffrey. "The way they forechecked put a lot of pressure on our D. We put their forecheck to our advantage, putting pucks around them. We have to adjust to how much they put on us."

The feeling out period didn't pan out as planned with the Stars and then the IceCaps taking minors in the first few minutes to upset the flow and give power plays to each team. The IceCaps did not generate a shot on their power play. Texas only had one but made it count.

Scott Glennie picked up a puck in the slot and had the vision and presence to send it over to an open Travis Morin on the right wing circle. The AHL MVP buried the chance on the one-timer for the 1-0 lead. Texas led on shots 11-5 after one.

"Our starts have been OK, but we just haven't scored on them," said Desjardins. "It was important for our power play to get going so it was big to get that."

The IceCaps picked up their shots pace in the second period, but it was Texas getting all the goals. Will O'Neill evened things up in the early going, scoring on a frantic play that saw the Stars fail to clear and have it come back to bite them.

Chris Mueller answered right back with his first goal since Game 2 against Toronto on the breakaway. Dustin Jeffrey sprung him free on the play, which he picked glove side high on Hutchinson for the 2-1 lead. It was the Stars' first shot of the period.

In fact, the Stars would only fail to score on one of their four shots in the period. Scott Glennie went next, also picking a corner on Hutchinson for the 3-1 lead. He trailed the play up the slot and was the recipient of a nice pass from the left wing by Jeffrey.

To cap off the period scoring, Travis Morin found the net for the second time in the game. He broke out with Brendan Ranford on the penalty kill, going s2-on-1 against the IceCaps up a man. Ranford missed the initial shot but went around the net to find the puck and pass to Morin, who slid it in along the ice for the 4-1 lead.

"I was watching it from the box," said Glennie, smiling. "So it was a good feeling. Ranford made a great shot to Morin out front, and that was a big goal for us."

It was the Stars' second shorthanded goal of the playoffs. The IceCaps led on shots 17-15 after forty.

The Stars and St. John's traded goals in the final period to make it to the 6-3 final. Kael Mouillierat scored his fourth of the playoffs with a quick shot from the left wing circle on Nilstorp. Texas' Glennie got it right back with another trailer play from Jeffrey. Chris Mueller got the zone entry, passed to Jeffrey who saw Glennie with the open net for the 5-2 score.

"A lot of credit goes to Mueller," said Jeffrey. "He pushed the D back and created a lane for Glennie. On his second one, Glennie worked really hard to get up in the play. If you watch the start, he was the low guy and came all the way back and got rewarded."

Glennie admitted, "I was pretty surprised Jeffrey saw me on the second one. He sees the ice really well."

Jordan Hill would score one for the IceCaps from the point to make it 5-3 off the crossbar and down.

With time ticking down, the IceCaps pulled Hutchinson for the extra skater. Very quickly, Texas broke out the play and Mike Hedden scored into the empty net for the 6-3 final score.

Game 2 is tomorrow at 7:30 at the Cedar Park Center.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Morin-Ranford
Glennie-Mueller-Jeffrey
Hedden-Dowling-Ritchie
Henderson-Faksa-Stransky

Jokipakka-Nemeth
Gaunce-Oleksiak
Meech-Fortunus

Nilstorp

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Robinson, Labrie, Guptill, Troock, Hulak, Vause, Wrenn, Byström, Desrosiers (scratched)
Klingberg, Peters, Petersen (injury)

Today's attendance was 5,625.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. St. John's - June 8 2014

5 comments:

  1. Nilstorp was really good tonight. Amazing what Jack Campbell can inspire simply by dressing for the game. I hope Willie stays with Nilstorp.

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  2. I'm foreseeing a very short series. The Ice Caps may be good, but they aren't the Hershey Bears!

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  3. Couldn't make the game tonight. Thank you SO MUCH for this write-up. Better than any AP filing on any NHL game. Seriously.

    I am going tomorrow night. Hoping for a good crowd and another Stars win!

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  4. Pretty cool that this article is linked to from the SI.com Top Line hockey blog! And great win last night in front of a great crowd. Hope the Stars can take another before heading up to their place!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for calling this to my attention. Great to see national media taking a big interest in the Calder Cup!

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