|(Photo Credit: Jonathan Kozub/Manitoba Moose)|
Winnipeg, MB - Anthony Louis scored two power play goals and Ty Dellandrea had three assists while reigning Player of the Week Matt Murry saved 31-of-33 shots as the Texas Stars clinched the fifth and final Central Division playoff spot with a 4-2 win over Manitoba Tuesday night at Canada Life Center. Texas played their way into the playoffs by closing out the regular season with four straight road wins to punch their ticket into the post season. Texas will be making their first appearance in the Calder Cup Playoffs since 2018.
Manitoba got out to the first lead of the night 1-0 l just 1:26 into the game on a freak shot when Daniel Torgersson banked a shot off of Murray from behind the net. The Stars went scoreless on two first period power plays,but managed to draw the game even at 1-1 with 2:54 left in the opening period. Jordan Kawaguchi backhanded one on net that Moose goalie Arvid Holm stopped, but Curtis McKenzie found it in front of him and knocked the rebound in for his 21st goal and 50th point of the season.
The Moose went back on top 4:28 into the middle frame on yet another freaky goal when Dean Stewart sent a shot that missed badly but banked in off of the back of Thomas Caron. The Stars yet again answered back just seven seconds into a 5-on-3 power play when Ben Gleason blazed one past Holm to knot the game back up at 2-2 with 3:58 left in the middle frame. The teams skated into intermission 2-2 after a period that also saw the shots tied 13-13 in the stanza.
The Stars took their first lead of the night at 3-2 when Anthony Louis snapped a shot from the left circle off the crossbar and in with just 7:46 to play. Louis added a second power play goal with 3:49 left to seal the game as the Stars put an exclamation mark on making their first playoff appearance since 2018.
Rookie netminder Murray stopped 31 of 33 shots for his fifth win of the season. The UMass alum made 132 saves on 136 shots while going 4-0 over Texas’ four-game road trip, in winning AHL’s Player of the Week honors.
Texas heads home and waits to see who their opponent for the best-of-three play-in round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, depending on the results of this week’s games. The Stars will face either the Milwaukee Admirals or Rockford IceHogs.
Injuries, scratches and notes
Comeau (injury, has not played)
Khudobin (injury, out for season)
Roth, Martin, Jurusik, L'Esperance, Lipanov, Woods, Barteaux (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 2,171