Travis Morin roofed a bad-angled backhand for the go-ahead goal with 45.3 seconds left in regulation Saturday night, giving the Texas Stars a 4-3 win over the defending AHL champion Hershey Bears and a 2-0 lead in Calder Cup Finals.
Scott McCulloch, who got the winning goal in Game 1, took a wrist shot that went wide to the left of Hershey goaltender Michal Neuvirth. But Morin, a former Bear, collected the rebound off the back wall and backhanded it over Neuvirth from just inside the goal line, stunning the crowd of 10,872 fans at Giant Center. Morin, who appeared in five games for Hershey during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, broke an eight-game goal-scoring drought with his fourth of the playoffs.
Texas, the Dallas Stars' top farm team, hosts the next three games in the best-of-7 series, beginning Monday night.
Hershey, the Washington Capitals' top farm team, now trails 2-0 in a series for the first time since the 2008 division semifinals vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Bears, who beat Manitoba for the title last year, were 37-1-0 in its previous 38 home games before falling to Texas on Giant Center ice twice in a three-day span.
The Stars had allowed the first goal in each of their last 11 games, but this time they grabbed leads of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 only to see the Bears get even each time.
Aaron Gagnon gave Texas the lead by scoring on a partial breakaway a minute into the game, but Steve Pinizzotto tied it 6:40 later, finishing off a 2-on-1 break after a turnover with a shot from the race faceoff dot past Matt Climie.
Garrett Stafford received credit for the goal that put Texas ahead 2-1 at 11:03 of the second period after his shot from the right point deflected into the net off Bears defenseman Bryan Helmer. Hershey came right back though, as Francois Bouchard's one-time blast from center point beat Climie.
Texas went ahead again at 3:18 of the third period when Mathieu Beaudoin converted a nice cross-crease feed from Perttu Lindgren for his fourth goal of the playoffs. But the Bears picked up their play and got even for the third time when Andrew Gordon knocked in the rebound of Patrick Wellar's shot at 10:44 for his 11th goal in 13 playoff games this spring.
Climie earned the victory for Texas with 25 saves. Neuvirth, who allowed four goals for the first time in 20 career home playoff starts, made 19 saves.