Dowling Scores Power Play Goal, Stars Lose to Barons 5-1
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Texas Stars were eliminated from the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs with a 5-1 loss to the Oklahoma City Barons in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals Thursday night at Cox Convention Center.
The teams traded chances in the first period that once again featured a very evenly matched contest. Oklahoma City had a chance to grab the lead when three minor penalties in seven seconds meant the hosts were awarded a four-on-three power play. Texas’ penalty kill was stuck inside its own zone for the entire two minutes, but was able to stave off the danger. The Stars out-shot the Barons 12-8 in the opening frame, but it was Oklahoma City that would strike first late in the period. Just off a faceoff, Teemu Haritkainen took a shot that rang off the left post and just dribbled over the goal line at 17:21 to make it 1-0 Barons.
Oklahoma City doubled its lead just 96 second into the second period. Taylor Fedun lifted a backhand shot over the glove of Nilstorp on a quick four-on-two rush to give the Barons an insurance goal. Eight minutes later the home team added a third goal as a defensive breakdown led to a quick two-on-one for Toni Rajala and C.J. Stretch. Rajala was able to slide the puck over the far post and Stretch had an easy tap-in to make it 3-0 OKC at 9:16. Immediately after the goal Mike Hedden and Justin Dowling nearly put the Stars on the scoreboard, but Hedden’s pass to Dowling on a two-on-none rush handcuffed the Texas center and the shot went wide of the open net.
The Barons quickly added to their lead in the third period as Garrett Stafford scored a power play goal at 1:24. Texas continued to look for offense, only for a Mark Arcobello shot to elude Nilstorp at 12:02 for a 5-0 Oklahoma City lead. The Stars spoiled Danis’ shutout bid with a late power play goal with 2:57 left to play. Reilly Smith fed Justin Dowling for a shot that went under the glove of Danis and into the net. Smith and Alex Chiasson each had assists on the power play goal, which was Dowling’s first of the playoffs. However, time was the Stars’ enemy and it ran out in the game and in the 2013 Calder Cup Playoff run.
Yann Danis finished with 33 saves on 34 shots to earn the win in the game and the series for Oklahoma City. Cristopher Nilstorp once again turned in a fantastic effort in goal for Texas, making 29 saves on 34 shots in the loss. The teams finished tied with 34 shots each. The Stars went 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Barons were 1-for-4 with the man-advantage.
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.
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Photo: Steve Christy/OKC Barons