Mueller Nets Texas’ Lone Goal, MacIntyre Shines with 49 Saves
Chris Mueller scored a third period power play goal to pull the Texas Stars within two goals, but an incredible 49-save performance by goaltender Drew MacIntyre was too much as the Stars fell to the Toronto Marlies 5-1 Friday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in front of a crowd of 4,693 fans at Cedar Park Center.
Both teams came out firing, but it was the Marlies that broke through first. Brandon Kozun received a pass from Trevor Smith at the blue line and, after a Stars defensive breakdown, skated in unmarked and beat goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp with a wrist shot at 3:11 to give Toronto a 1-0 lead. The extremely physical first period saw Texas lead in shots on goal 12-9.
The Marlies doubled their lead at 7:15 in the second when T.J. Brennan collected the puck in the high slot and fired a wrist shot off the post and in, cashing in just five seconds after a four-on-four situation had turned into a Toronto power play. The visitors added another goal just 13 seconds later, as a Stars’ turnover deep in their own zone led to Peter Holland taking control of the puck all alone in the slot and sniping the top left corner. Texas out-shot the Marlies 17-6 in the middle frame, but found itself on the wrong side of a 3-0 Toronto lead.
The Stars broke through late in the third when, after pulling Nilstorp and playing with the extra attacker for an extended period of time, Travis Morin setup Chris Mueller for a one-timer from the left circle on a six-on-four advantage to pull Texas within two. Mueller’s goal, assisted by Morin and Curtis McKenzie, extended his current goal streak to three games. The rally was cut off, however, by a pair of empty-net goals by the Marlies, both on shots from their own zone, cementing the 5-1 Toronto victory. The Stars out-shot the Marlies 21-4 in the final period, logging more shots over the last 20 minutes than Toronto managed the entire game.
Toronto goalie Drew MacIntyre (8-0) had 49 saves on 50 shots and earned his eighth win of the postseason. Cristopher Nilstorp (5-2) stopped 14-of-17 shots faced and was saddled with his second loss of the playoffs in net for Texas. The Stars outshot the Marlies 50-19 and went 1-for-6 on the power play. Toronto was 1-for-2 with the man-advantage.
The Stars will continue the Western Conference Finals against the Toronto Marlies with Game 2 on Monday, May 26th for a 7:30 p.m. face off at Cedar Park Center. Monday’s game is an H-E-B Night and a Texas Lottery Lucky Row Night. 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.