|Hutchinson (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
"I was a little bit more prepared tonight than last night," said Hutchinson. "I knew I could play better, take little things from that game and be better prepared tonight."
St. John's coach Keith McCambridge ranked his goalie's performance in the top three he's seen all time, "It wasn't even a rebound game. He played the way he has all playoffs for us. He was definitely the best player tonight."
The IceCaps scored first and never trailed in the game. Even so, Texas felt they played a better game than in the opener. They just ran into some hot goaltending once again.
"It was a good effort," said Coach Desjardins. "I think we played better tonight than last night. There's nothing you can do [about a hot goalie]. You just have to move on."
Dustin Jeffrey added, "We created a lot of chances, but I think we didn't get the shots we wanted."
Texas controlled the early play and had the first four shots of the night. The IceCaps scored on their first shot to negate all of that good effort.
"We are well aware of the momentum that can build in this building. That first goal was huge," said McCambridge.
Kael Mouillierat finished off a two-on-one against the Stars captain, Maxime Fortunus. Eric O'Dell slipped the puck to the crease past the defender for the waiting Mouillierat to make it 1-0.
Texas poured on the shots, ending the first at 16-9. Michael Hutchinson stoned more than a few chances in the period, including a point blank chance by Curtis McKenzie off a nice pass from Brendan Ranford.
The Stars would make good on that original opportunity on the first shift of the second period. Ranford popped one past Hutchinson off the pass from Morin just 29 seconds into the middle frame.
"Disappointed that we gave them some momentum in the second," said McCambridge. "If you give Texas time and space in the offense zone, you can see what happened with that goal."
It wouldn't last long as the IceCaps put in one of their own off the stick of Blair Riley on the one timer just 44 seconds later. It was a crucial fourth line goal that would stand up as the winner.
"We were very up on the bench and felt momentum was coming [our way]," said Kevin Henderson. "Having an answering shift like that [from St. John's], it's not so much deflating but it hurts."
St. John's hemmed the Stars in for most of the period from there. While Texas had its chances, the IceCaps had even more. The forecheck of the visitors generated turnovers and shots on Cristopher Nilstorp. The Swede was called upon to make quite a few big saves in the stanza, holding Texas to a 2-1 deficit after 40. Shots were only in their favor 30-27.
Hutchinson showed his true mettle in the third period, turning aside all 20 shots he faced, including several grade A chances from a variety of players.
"He wasn't showing us that much," said Ranford. "He made some unbelievable saves in the third. Mueller had the breakaway, Henderson had that one in the slot, and I had the wrap around he was right there for."
Kevin Henderson's chance was the best the Stars had in the third. Point blank he had to double clutch the shot, giving Hutchinson just enough time to recover for the save. McCambridge called it his goalie's best save of the night.
With time winding down, Texas pulled Nilstorp to no avail. The Stars' tender finished with 33 saves on 35 shots.
The Stars and IceCaps now take the long charter flight to St. John's for Game 3 on Wednesday.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Robinson, Labrie, Guptill, Troock, Hulak, Vause, Wrenn, Byström, Desrosiers (scratched)
Klingberg, Peters, Petersen (injury)
Today's attendance was 5,224.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. St. John's - June 9 2014