Texas Takes Game 2 on Bayreuther's Power Play Bomb, 2-1

Texas celebrates their second period tally.
(Credit: Christian Bonin/Toronto Marlies)
The Texas Stars power play could have been the scapegoat for a tough road loss this afternoon in Toronto. But after failing to convert on a lengthy 5-on-3 in the second, Texas came through in the third with Gavin Bayreuther bombing one from the point to earn a split in Canada and send the series home tied.

"I just got out there, and Dowling made an unbelievable play to set the puck right on a platter," Bayreuther told Leafs Nation Network postgame.

It was also the first time the Marlies have lost on home ice all playoffs, a ten game streak. Their streak overall stretched all the way back to March 24th before today.

Both goaltenders looked more like themselves this evening with just three against Garret Sparks and Mike McKenna combined. McKenna weathered a storm in the first while Sparks weathered one in the second. In the third, the Stars held Toronto to just four shots, an impressive effort considering the final frame is the Marlies best in the playoffs. They had outscored opponents 26-12 coming into this game.

After yesterday's feeling out first period, Toronto took charge in today's opening frame. At one point, Toronto was outshooting Texas 7-2 and finished the period with a 13-6 shots advantage. It felt like the Stars were lucky to end the first period down just 1-0. Ben Smith deflected Travis Dermott's point shot for that single goal in the first.

Things reversed in the second period, and both sides got into penalty trouble. Dillon Heatherington found Curtis McKenzie at the far blue line on a laser of a pass at 2:45, which he converted into the tying goal.

Three minutes later, with Frederik Gauthier already in the box, Colin Greening hauled down Brent Regner trying to get to the puck on a shorthanded chance. That set up a 5-on-3 for 1:37. The Stars couldn't establish any sort of rhythm to the power play. Coach Laxdal decided to take his lone timeout halfway through the advantage to keep the top unit out for the entire 97 seconds. Regner had the best chance of the set, hitting the right post.

The Marlies and Stars traded penalies through the rest of the period, which slowed down the pace a bit. Neither broke through, and Texas outshot the competition 13-5 to even things up at 19-18 Texas through two.

Gavin Bayreuther's game winner came early in the third. Justin Dowling executed a no-look backhand pass flawlessly to a wide-open Bayreuther. He snapped it high glove side on a screened Sparks for the 2-1 lead.

The Stars locked it down from there. Toronto couldn't even get it together to establish the zone on the 6-on-5 in the final two minutes of the game.

This game shows Texas belongs in a big way. The series now shifts to Cedar Park for Game 3 on Tuesday.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
O'Brien, Payne, Calderone, Kelleher, Gurianov, Rallo, Hansson, Paliotta, Robertson, Nyberg, Desrosiers, Caamano (scratch)

Today's attendance was 8,219, another sellout.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Toronto - June 3 2018