Wathier Scores for Texas; Oklahoma City Grabs 1-0 Series Lead
CEDAR PARK, TX – Anton Lander redirected a centering pass from Toni Rajala into the top right corner of the net just 1:28 into the first overtime as the Texas Stars were defeated by the Oklahoma City Barons 2-1 Thursday night at Cedar Park Center in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Oklahoma City leads the best-of-seven series 1-0 with Game 2 scheduled for Saturday night at Cedar Park Center.
Texas came charging out of the gates and put the pressure on the Barons and goaltender Yann Danis right away. Shortly after the Stars successfully killed off a hooking penalty, the Barons grabbed the lead when Philippe Cornet set up Mark Arcobello for a one-timer that beat goalie Cristopher Nilstorp from the bottom of the right faceoff circle at 15:08. Texas out-shot Oklahoma City 11-5 in the period, but could not put a puck in the net.
Nilstorp came up with a big save in the second period as he stoned Cornet on a partial breakaway to keep it a one-goal game. The Stars thought they had tied the game late in the period, but a quick whistle from the referee blew the play dead before the loose puck came free from Danis’ pads and ended up in the back of the net. Texas shook it off and tied the game on the next faceoff. Jordie Benn found Francis Wathier in the low slot for a quick one-timer that beat Danis low to the far right post at 16:30 for his first goal of the post-season. Benn’s assist was his first career Calder Cup Playoff point. The Stars enjoyed a 15-8 shots on goal advantage in the second period, 26-13 through forty minutes, as the second period ended with a 1-1 tie.
Neither team found the net in an exciting, and nerve-wracking, third period. Both teams had chances to take the lead, but both goaltenders performed well and forced overtime. It took the Barons just 1:28 of the first overtime period to win the game as Toni Rajala snapped a pass from the left wing corner and found Anton Lander just above the crease. Lander redirected the puck over the blocker of Nilstorp and into the top right corner of the net in a lightning quick play that ended the game.
Yann Danis finished the game with 34 saves on 35 shots to earn his fourth win of the playoffs, while Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 24-of-26 shots in just his second loss of the post season. Texas out-shot Oklahoma City 35-26 in the game and went 0-for-3 on the power play; the Barons were 0-for-1 on the man-advantage. Oklahoma City now leads the best-of-seven series 1-0.
The Texas Stars continue their series with the Oklahoma City Barons on Saturday, May 11th for Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals at 7:30 p.m. at Cedar Park Center. Tickets for all Stars home games in the series are on sale now via Ticketmaster or the Cedar Park Center Box Office. Ticket packages for all remaining Texas Stars 2013 home playoff games are also on sale and may be purchased by calling 512-GO-STARS.
2013-14 Season Tickets are now on sale. Put your deposit for 2013-14 season tickets and receive priority for both Texas Stars 2013 Calder Cup playoff tickets and 2013-14 season seat selection. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.