|(credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
Denis Gurianov scored the lone goal of the contest, notching his second tally of the playoffs in the third period.
As was the case all night, McKenna was a rock in net for the first two periods with the Reign outshooting the Stars 25-19. Cal Petersen was equally impressive to keep the game at a scoreless tie through forty minutes of play. Both goaltenders broke up a couple of odd-man rushes with timely poke checks and sound positioning.
Remi Elie had a great chance on a breakaway five minutes into the second period, but shot wide. It was a common refrain from the Stars when they had their chances. Both teams created their fair share of offense on the rush but couldn't crack either goaltender.
Reign defenseman Oscar Fantenberg, who recorded five shots on goal in the game, finally drew enough post-whistle ire from the Stars for Curtis McKenzie to react, causing an end of period fracas heading into the second intermission.
There were two instances of 4-on-4 play in the second and third periods, but the extra open ice didn't yield a goal for either team. Around the twelve minute marker in the third period, the Stars finally cashed in on a counter attack with Gurianov's goal. Roope Hintz got the initial shot on the rush with the young Russian cleaning up the rebound to break the scoreless tie. Jason Dickinson, still recovering from an injury suffered earlier in the series, set up the play and notched the secondary assist.
A few shifts later, Sheldon Dries nearly picked up a critical insurance goal, ringing a hard shot of the post. From there, the Stars withstood an onslaught of pucks on net, and McKenna did his best work. Winger Jonny Brodzinski was stymied on two glorious chances late in the game, the second coming during 6-on-5 play when the Reign went with an empty net. After the Reign desperately tried to create several stoppages of play and goaded the Stars into a series of icings, McKenna's back got some needed relief from carrying the team all night as the game ended.
The Stars will have plenty of time to purchase McKenna his drink of choice, or several, as they wait to see the result of the series between the Tucson Roadrunners and San Jose Barracuda, currently tied 1-1.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
O'Brien, Payne, Calderone, Kelleher, Rallo, Hansson, Paliotta (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 6,222.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Ontario - April 24 2018