|(Photo Credit; Milwaukee Admirals)|
Milwaukee, WI - In the home-opener for the Milwaukee Admirals, the Texas Stars scored twice in the last five minutes while goalie Matt Murray turned away 29-of-31 shots - including 17 in the first alone -the Stars escaped Milwaukee with a 3-2 win in their first showdown since Texas' devastating Game 5 playoff loss to the Ads on May 21st.
As expected, the teams played fairly square for the first 20 minutes despite Milwaukee having a 17-3 shot advantage through the first period. Texas gained their first advantage as the clock was draining down when rookie Logan Stankoven lit the lamp on a breakaway with one second left in the frame to send the visitors to the room with the 1-0 lead. Stars Captain Curtis McKenzie and Christian Kyrou were credited with the helpers on the lead goal.
With the start of the second period, the momentum shifted slightly towards the Stars as they outshot Milwaukee 9-5 for the middle stanza. Neither team was able to gain an edge until late in the frame Roland McKeown found a loose puck at the top of the right circle and blasted it past Murray's right shoulder to knot the game up at 1-1 with 28 seconds left in the second, bringing the crowd of 6,501 at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena back into the game.
Early in the third, Milwaukee, with Texas on the penalty kill due to an Alexander Petrovic cross-check, noted Stars-killer Egor Afanasyev bounced one off of Murray's left shoulder from the goal-line extended and into the net to give the Admirals a 2-1 lead. There was a whistle prior to the shot that allowed the Stars to pull up, but after review, the goal counted.
As Milwaukee carried the one-goal lead, the game typically showed to be a close one as the period continued. Texas got a chance on the power play midway through the frame but were unable to convert.
The Stars got the equalizer late in the period when Ads winger Zach L'Heureux took a cheap shot on Stars forward Nicholas Caamano, as payback from a previous hit, and was charged with a five-minute major with a game misconduct, sending the Stars on an unlimited advantage with 8:29 left in the game. Texas was unable to get anything going on the advantage until Stankoven picked up one of many rebounds on a Texas assault and found the back of the net from the right dot with 4:49 left in the game for the rookie's second goal of the game and his fourth in four games this season, knotting the game at 2-2.
As the game seemed headed towards another typical overtime ending between the two clubs, Texas won an offensive-zone faceoff and sent a barrage of pucks at the net, but as time was expiring, Matej Blumel dove into the left circle and took a perfect feed from Stankoven and went stick-side high and buried it past Ads goalie Yaroslov Askarov for the back-breaking and game-winning goal with 18.4 seconds left.
Texas goalie Murray picked up his first W for the season while turning away 29-of-31 shots. Askarov took his first loss of the season and saw his record drop to 1-1 while stopping 21-of-24 shots.
With the victory, Texas evens their record at 2-2 (4 points), putting them at the top of the Central Division, tied with Grand Rapids and Manitoba in the young season.
The Stars wrap up their first road trip of the season with a rematch against the Chicago Wolves at 3 p.m. Sunday. Texas thrashed the Wolves 7-3 in an 11 a.m. School Day game on Wednesday.
Injuries, scratches and notes
Arcuri, J. Murray, (scratch)
Bayreuther (out long-term/ankle), Reedy (upper-body injury)
Tonight's Attendance: 6,501