|(Photo Credit: Milwaukee Admirals)
Milwaukee, WI - The Texas Stars capped off a daunting three games in three days road set with a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators affiliate). Matej Blumel's blast with 33 seconds left in OT cemented the victory for the Stars in front of 9,018 in attendance Sunday afternoon at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. Blumel's game-winner helped Texas move back into first, tied with Milwaukee at the top of the Central Division standings, while paving the way for Remi Poirier's first career AHL win with his 33-save effort.
For the second time in as many games, Milwaukee struck first when Saturday's hero Keifer Sherwood found the back of the net for his 22nd goal of the season to give Milwaukee their initial lead at 1-0 midway through the opening stanza 10:36 in. Sherwood's tally was the only goal of a first period that saw Texas outshoot the Ads 14-13. Texas was unable to convert any of their three chances on the power play in the opening frame, including 1:11 of 5-on-3 action late in the period.
Neither team had another chance on the man advantage the remainder of the game.
Texas, who lead the league in second period goal differential stayed true to form when with just 3:43 left in the middle frame, Riley Damiani was able to take possession of a very bad Milwaukee defensive zone turnover and blast it past Admirals' goalie Devin Cooley, tying the game at 1-1 with the lone goal of a second period that saw Milwaukee outshoot Texas 13-9. Damiani's unassisted netter was his seventh of the season.
Milwaukee retook the lead 5:55 into the third when Mike McCarron redirected a Keaton Thompson shot from the left point for his first goal of the season to make it 2-1 Milwaukee.
With the wind seemingly out of their sails and the labor of playing three games in three days, Texas began to step things up in a third period that saw the Stars outshoot Milwaukee 19-6 over the final period of regulation. All of the flinging of vulcanized rubber finally paid off when Tanner Kero fielded a rebound off of a Mavrik Bourque shot and got it past Cooley to level the score at 2-2 with 10:50 left in regulation. Riley Barber was credited with the additional assist.
Kero's goal seemed to breathe life back into the Stars as they outshot Milwaukee 19-6 the rest of the way - including a 7-3 advantage in overtime - and dictated the play the rest of the way as they headed to bonus hockey.
Each team had golden opportunities in the extra frame with Poirier making two point-blank stops, one of which he stared down a one-on-none breakaway but neither team was able to find the twine for the game-winner until Blumel lit the lamp with a rocket from the top of the left circle with 33 seconds left to clinch the Stars 3-2 win.
With the victory, Poirier gets his first career AHL win in his second career start to improve his record to 1-1 after stopping 33-of-35 shots. Cooley took the loss despite turning away 43-of-46 shots.
By virtue of the triumph, Texas (27-12-7-3, 64 pts.) moves back into first, tied with Milwaukee (30-15-2-2, 64 pts.) atop of the AHL Central Division.
Texas will now take a well-deserved day off before heading to Rockford to close out their current six-game road trip. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Wednesday night at the BMO Bank Center.
Injuries, scratches and notes
Stranges, Laaksonen, Khudobin (scratch)
Karlstrom, Olofsson (not returned from Dallas)
Rosburg (out for season - upper-body injury)
Tonight's attendance was 9,018
1. MIL - D. Cooley
2. MIL - K. Sherwood
3. TEX - R. Poirier