Stars Beat Oklahoma City 3-2, Take 1-0 Series Lead
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Mike Hedden scored the game-tying goal in the third period and then won the game in overtime to give the Texas Stars a 3-2 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons in Game 1 of the 2014 Western Conference Quarterfinals on Wednesday night at Cox Convention Center.
The first period was a scoreless affair, but did not lack for excitement. Early in the frame Barons center Will Acton caused a turnover and got a shorthanded breakaway, but was denied by a fantastic save by Cristopher Nilstorp. Later in the period, Stars rookie Brendan Ranford also had a scoring chance shorthanded and beat goaltender Richard Bachman, but rang his shot off the crossbar. Ranford was originally awarded a goal, but after consulting the video replay, the officials overturned their call and waived it off.
Oklahoma City drew first blood at 1:49 of the second period when former Stars forward Austin Fyten skated down the right side, turned towards the net and got around Nilstorp to score the first goal of the series. Five minutes later, Curtis Hamilton made it 2-0 Barons with a shot from the left faceoff circle into the top right corner of the net. Texas answered back late in the frame with a power play goal by Derek Meech. The Stars’ defenseman beat Bachman with a shot from the right side that squirted through the pads and cut the lead in half; Justin Dowling and Ranford assisted on the goal at 14:32.
Knowing the first goal of the third period would hold great importance to the outcome, Texas kept up the pace and found the equalizer. Scott Glennie connected a smart pass to Mike Hedden, who turned the corner down low and roofed a shot over Bachman and under the crossbar to tie the game at 7:18; Glennie and Cameron Gaunce assisted on the goal. Both teams had power plays in the second half of the third period, but neither club could score and so the game went to overtime.
A quarter of the way through sudden-death overtime, Glennie initiated the game-ending play with a well-executed fore-check behind the Barons’ goal. Glennie caused a turnover and got the puck to Dowling behind the net from a wrap-around shot. Bachman made the save on Dowling’s effort, but Hedden was at the top of the crease to slam home the rebound for his second goal of the night to win the game at 5:35 of overtime.
Cristopher Nilstorp (1-0) earned his fifth career Calder Cup playoff victory by stopping 26-of-28 shots in goal for Texas. Richard Bachman (0-1) took the loss in his first ever postseason appearance against the Stars, making 30 saves on 33 shots in net for Oklahoma City. The Stars out-shot the Barons 33-28 and went 1-for-4 on the power play, while Oklahoma City went 0-for-5 with the man-advantage.
The Stars and Barons square off for Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Saturday, April 23rd for a 7:00 p.m. face off at Cox Convention Center. The Stars will return to Cedar Park Center for Game 3 on Wednesday, April 30th for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop. Texas Stars’ 2014 Calder Cup playoff ticket packages are on sale now! Reserve your seats for all Calder Cup playoff games at Cedar Park Center at a discounted rate. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.
Photo credit: Steven Christy