48-18-3-7, 106 pts
#1 Western Conference
|at||St. John's IceCaps|
46-23-2-5, 99 pts
#4 Eastern Conference
Texas leads 3-1
June 17th at 5:00 PM
Mile One Centre, St. John's, NL
Could tonight be the night for the Texas Stars?
This is the first chance the Stars have at clinching the Calder Cup. Texas is 3-1 in potential elimination games this playoffs. Their only loss came in Game 6 against Toronto with a chance to close out the Marlies for the Western Conference title. The Stars would win that series in Game 7.
After coming so close in two straight games, the IceCaps are focusing their games on 'one period' to get started, according to St. John's coach Keith McCambridge. Desjardins indicated that last night's game felt a lot like Game 3 in terms of the turn around that was needed from one of the teams to make it through to overtime. In Game 3 it was St. John's. Last night, it was Texas. However, in both, the Stars triumphed off the stick of Travis Morin.
"The first goal from Morin you could feel we were on our heels," said McCambridge. "We changed out style of play a bit and opened it up. We got away from what has given us success."
The comeback last night, while not the perfect scenario from a coaching standpoint, just bares out the will to win that the Stars have had all season. You can say all you want about being a third period team or having the ability to comeback from behind. Texas has legs to stand on when they make that claim. Last night's win typified their style all season. Not that they needed a lot of come from behind wins in the regular season. However, they made hay in the second and third with energy that other teams simply couldn't match. If you look at last night's game, the Stars outshot the IceCaps 38-35 on the final tally. That is after being down 29-6 halfway into the game. It was a tale of two halves. After the Mouillierat 5-on-3 power play goal, Texas outshot St. John's 32-6.
They were assisted in large part by a resurgence of their top line. Brendan Ranford and Curtis McKenzie may not have gotten the headline last night, but both were key pieces of the win. Somehow Ranford did not get a star in the game despite having three assists. Curtis McKenzie also missed the star listing with a goal and two assists himself.
And hasn't that been a key to Texas' play all season? Tonight's Morin and Ranford; tomorrow it's Ritchie and Hedden. The next it's Dowling. Then, Jeffrey or Glennie or Mueller or McKenzie. The talent level of this team all season has been otherworldly. The skill of this team cannot be and should not be written off by anyone. Certainly not opposing teams and most definitely not the fans of the Cedar Park club. It's rare. If this ends up being the last game, take some time to enjoy it. Drink it in and know that you were witness to something special.
Stars injury/call up report:
Klingberg, Petersen (injury)
Blog (official): IceCaps News
Beat reporter (print): St. John's Telegram
Beat reporter (web): @CharlesMDart