Stars Take Game 1 in Best-of-Five Playoff Series with Admirals
MILWAUKEE, WI – Rookie forward Brett Ritchie scored the game-winning goal at 11:44 of overtime to lift the Texas Stars to a 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals Friday night at BMO Harris Bradley Center in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
The Admirals struck first with a power play goal by Patrick Cehlin at 12:05 to grab the lead. Cehlin one-timed a clearing attempt from the left faceoff dot that snuck between goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp and the right post. After conceding the power play against, the Texas defense did not allow a single shot on goal to Milwaukee for the last eight minutes of the period. Texas rallied with momentum shifting goal in the final moments of the period. With just 15.6 seconds left in the frame the Stars raced in and Matt Fraser tipped in a Travis Morin shot to tie the game. The goal was Fraser’s first career playoff strike and was assisted by Morin and Colton Sceviour.
The Stars grabbed their first lead of the game halfway through the second period when defenseman Kevin Connauton wove his way through the Admirals defense and snapped a scorching wrist shot over the glove of goaltender Magnus Hellberg at 9:09. Captain Maxime Fortunus and left wing Mike Hedden both assisted on the goal. Each team has power plays in the middle period, but neither could capitalize. The Stars held Milwaukee to just one shot on goal in the entire period, out-shooting their hosts 11-1.
Five minor penalties in the span of six minutes in the third period, three of them against Texas, gave the Admirals a chance to rally. They capitalized on a four-on-three advantage as Zach Hamill lifted in a rebound to tie the game at 7:11. Both teams had opportunities to regain the lead, but the goaltenders did their job and forced overtime.
Milwaukee had momentum in the early minutes of the overtime period, but that shift when Scott Ford took a holding penalty at 7:30. The Admirals, who’s penalty kill had a 91% success rate over the final two months of the regular season, killed off this one also, the seventh Texas man-advantage of the game. Two minutes later the game was over and the Stars had the victory. Rookie Brett Ritchie collected a pass from Hedden skated into the offensive zone and beat Hellberg with a blazing snap shot over the glove and into the top right corner of the net at 11:44 to win the game. Hedden and Connauton assisted on the goal and the Stars out-shot the Admirals 9-4 in overtime.
Cristopher Nilstorp turned aside 29-of-31 shots in goal for Texas to record the victory in his first career Calder Cup Playoff game. Magnus Hellberg, also making his AHL post-season debut, finished with 41 saves on 44 shots in the overtime loss. The Stars out-shot the Admirals 44-31 and went 1-for-7 on the power play, while Milwaukee was 2-for-5 on the man-advantage.
Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between Texas and Milwaukee is schedule for Saturday, April 27th at 7:00 p.m. at BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Stars will host the Admirals for Game 3 on Wednesday, May 1st at 7:30 p.m. at Cedar Park Center. Individual game tickets for the Stars Western Conference quarterfinal home dates are on sale now. Tickets may be purchased via Ticketmaster or the Cedar Park Center Box Office. Full ticket packages for all Texas Stars home 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.
Photo credit: Scott Paulus/Milwaukee Admirals