Dowling Nets Game-Winner as Texas Tops Oklahoma City 4-2
Justin Dowling’s power play goal midway through the third period broke a 2-2 tie and lifted the Texas Stars to a 4-2 win over the Oklahoma Barons Wednesday night in front of a crowd of 4,786 fans at Cedar Park Center, completing a three-game series sweep of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
For the first time in the series, the Stars scored the first goal of the game. Curtis McKenzie dropped the puck to Travis Morin at the right circle where the AHL MVP threaded a beautiful cross-ice pass to Brendan Ranford, who was waiting at the far post to hammer it home, giving Texas a 1-0 lead.
Chris Mueller, fresh from making his Stanley Cup Playoff debut for Dallas, doubled the Stars’ lead early in the second. Mueller split through two defenders and drew a delayed hooking penalty, shrugged off the hook and snapped a shot under the blocker of Richard Bachman for a 2-0 lead at 1:55. Toby Petersen and William Wrenn both assisted on Mueller’s tally, which was his ninth career Calder Cup Playoff goal. Oklahoma City cut into the Stars’ advantage on a delayed penalty as captain Anton Lander accepted a pass from Austin Fyten on a two-on-one and beat Texas goalie Cristopher Nilstorp with a beautiful wrist shot for a shorthanded goal at 8:53, making the score 2-1 Stars.
The Barons tied the game at two early in the third on a Brad Hunt blast from the point that found its way through traffic and into the net at 3:24. Justin Dowling put the Stars back in the lead at the 11:21 mark with a five-on-three power play goal. Just when it appeared that Dowling was looking for the back-door pass, he caught everyone by surprise, including Bachman, buy sliding the puck through the goaltender’s legs for the go-ahead goal, assisted by Derek Meech and Jyrki Jokipakka. Scott Glennie finished the game off with an empty net goal with one minute left, giving Texas the 4-2 victory and the three-game series sweep
Cristopher Nilstorp (2-0) stopped 21-of-23 shots to record his second win of the series in net for Texas. Oklahoma City goalie Richard Bachman (0-3) had 30 saves on 33 shots and took the loss. The Stars outshot the Barons 34-23 and went 1-for-10 on the power play. Oklahoma City was 0-for-2 with the man-advantage. The Stars were a perfect 9-for-9 on the penalty kill in the series against a Barons’ power play that ranked third overall in the AHL during the regular season.
The Stars now await their second opponent, which will be determined later this weekend. As the top-seed in the Calder Cup Playoffs, Texas will face the lowest-remaining seed in the Western Conference in the second round, which is a best-of-seven format. 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.