Game 7 on Tuesday Night at 7:30 p.m. at Cedar Park Center
AHL Rookie of the Year Curtis McKenzie scored the only Texas Stars goal in a 3-1 loss to the Toronto Marlies Monday night in front of a crowd of 4,852 fans at Cedar Park Center, forcing a decisive Game 7 on Tuesday night in Texas.
Rookie Brendan Ranford almost put the Stars in front four minutes into the game. Travis Morin sent Ranford away on a shorthanded breakaway, but Toronto goaltender Drew MacIntyre forced Ranford wide and the puck rolled off his stick as he tried to shoot around the sprawling netminder. The Marlies opened the scoring at 8:54 of the first period when T.J. Brennan launched a slap shot from the point that slipped underneath Texas goalie Cristopher Nilstorp and Carter Ashton was able to find the puck in the crease and bury it into the open net. Toronto outshot the Stars 14-10 in the opening frame, just the second time in the series that the Marlies have outshot Texas in a period.
Earlier in the second period, after a Nilstorp roughing penalty, Trevor Smith scored a power play goal on a one-timer from the slot on a pass by Sam Carrick at 2:28. With 55.7 seconds left in the period, Spencer Abbott fed Ashton for his second goal of the game on a two-on-one rush that gave the Marlies a 3-0 heading into the final frame. The Stars outshot the Marlies 12-6 during the period and had four power play chances, including a lengthy five-on-three opportunity, but were unable to beat MacIntyre.
Texas continued to keep the pressure on Toronto during the third period. Curtis McKenzie put the Stars on the scoreboard with 3:25 left in regulation, pulling them within two goals, ending MacIntyre’s shutout bid. While on the power play and with the net empty for an extra attacker, McKenzie tipped a Maxime Fortunus slap shot from the point under MacIntyre’s pads for his second goal of the playoffs. The strike ended a 0-for-23 power play drought for Texas; the Stars last power play goal in the series was scored by Brett Ritchie at 16:51 of the first period of Game 2. Toronto was able to keep the Stars from getting any closer and won the game 3-1.
Marlies goalie Drew MacIntyre (10-3) had 36 saves on 37 shots to record his 10th win of the playoffs. Cristopher Nilstorp (8-4) stopped 22-of-25 shots and registered the loss in net for Texas. The Stars outshot Toronto 37-25 and went 1-for-8 on the power play; the Mariles were 1-4 with the man-advantage.
With the series tied at three, Texas Stars and the Toronto Marlies will square off for Game 7 of the 2014 Western Conference Finals at Cedar Park Center on Tuesday, June 3rd at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tuesday’s contest is H-E-B Night and a Texas Lottery Lucky Row Night. Texas Stars season ticket packages for the 2014-15 season are on sale now. For more information, call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.