Monday, June 16, 2014

Travis Morin Headlines Texas Comeback Win As Stars Score Four Unanswered

Texas Stars now just one win away from winning the Calder Cup
Game winning goal (Credit: Colin Peddle)
Halfway through Game 4, it looked like this series was heading for a two game each tie. Three goals for the IceCaps and a 29-6 shots lead made it look like a forgone conclusion. The AHL MVP, Travis Morin, both started and finished a comeback that saw Texas score four unanswered goals.

The Stars erased a three goal deficit to take the game to overtime. Then their top scorer stepped up to take Texas within one win of the franchise's first Calder Cup. The Stars outshot the IceCaps 38-35 overall and 32-7 in the second half of the game. With the win, Texas moved to 5-0 in OT this postseason, setting an AHL record for road OT wins in a postseason.

The Stars were facing a barrage of shots in the first period. The only thing keeping them in it was the play of their goaltender, Cristopher Nilstorp. Two early penalties put the shots at 14-4 for the IceCaps. The Stars managed to get some power plays of their own but ended up on the wrong side of the man advantage, giving up a shorthanded goal to St. John's. Right off a faceoff in the Texas zone, defenseman Ben Chiarot put up his second of the postseason on one that eluded Nilstorp from the point.

Texas finished the first down on shots 21-5. It wouldn't get much better in the second period as Carl Klingberg scored in the first minute of the frame. On a break up the ice with Kael Mouillierat, Klingberg finished off a backhanded chance, beating Nilstorp glove side as he couldn't close off the post.

The Stars kept up that penalty trouble as the period continued, getting down two men at the halfway point of the frame. Mouillierat continued his scoring ways with his fourth goal in as many games in the finals, making it 3-0. The shots were 29-6 in the game at that point.

Texas got its rally going off the stick of their AHL MVP. Brendan Ranford worked the puck from the corner behind the net, getting Michael Hutchinson moving side-to-side. The rookie passed the puck out to Travis Morin in the slot for the 3-1 score.

Just a few minutes later, Curtis McKenzie finished off a frantic cram play at the net off the assists from Morin and Ranford. With the score, Texas drew within a goal. By the end of the frame, Texas had outshot the IceCaps 17-10 in the period and 16-2 in the back half of the second.

The Stars poured on the shots as the third period started. Michael Hutchinson continued to come up big in pressure situations. Six minutes in, he robbed Dustin Jeffrey of the potential game-tying goal on a great glove grab.

A few minutes later, Brett Ritchie appeared to have the goal on a play that went to review. All the replays shown on television showed the puck was in, but the overhead view is the only one usable for the referees at ice level. The initial call was no goal and Hutchinson's glove blocked the overhead view of the puck, preventing a change of the call on the ice. It stayed 3-2 St. John's.

Ritchie would get it back a few minutes later off a sage play from Justin Dowling. Charging down the ice, Dowling sent the puck to the slot, where Ritchie wristed it past a falling Hutchinson to tie things at three. As the period ended, Texas had one more chance to take the win. The captain, Maxime Fortunus, put it off the iron with five seconds left. After trailing 21-5 in the first on shots, the Stars pulled to a 37-34 lead after 60 minutes.

The only shot of the overtime was the one that ended it. Brendan Ranford broke in off the pass from Curtis McKenzie and drew three IceCaps. Luckily for Texas, that left Morin completely uncovered. He went glove side high across the body on Hutchinson, popping the water bottle and taking the score to 4-3.

Tomorrow's Game 5 will be the Stars first chance to clinch the Calder Cup.

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, Peters (scratched)
Klingberg, Petersen (injury)

Today's attendance was 6,287.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. St. John's - June 16 2014

2 comments:

  1. Wow! What a comeback! It should have been 4-3 Texas win in regulation, but who's counting? Also, I have tickets to Thursday's game. Does this mean I have to root for the IceCaps?

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  2. This Stars team is truly impressive. They have come from behind so many times this post season. Just shows the composure and character of this team. It's been special to watch. Enjoy it now as next season may be a very different story. We are likely to lose what really makes this team great - the coaching staff. Thanks Texas Stars for a great season, no matter how this turns out.

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