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The St. John’s IceCaps look to bounce back from a Game 1 loss to the Texas Stars Sunday night to even the best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals at one game apiece before heading back to St. John’s.
LAST GAME: The Stars scored three goals on four shots in the second period as they held off the IceCaps 6-3 in Game One of the Calder Cup Finals at Cedar Park Center in Texas.
The Stars opened the scoring in Game 1 on the power play just 3:08 into the game as regular season leading scorer Travis Morin took a perfect goalmouth pass from Scott Glennie and beat a sprawling Michael Hutchinson.
The score remained 1-0 until early in the second period when Will O’Neill showed great patience as he circled the net and roofed a shot behind Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp just 1:47 into the frame to tie the game.
It didn’t take long for Texas to respond as they tied the game on a Chris Mueller shot that beat Hutchinson glove side at 3:52. Glennie and Morin would also add second period goals as the Stars held a comfortable 4-1 lead after 40 minutes.
The IceCaps made the game interesting with a goal from Kael Mouillierat at 2:36 of the third period to cut the deficit to two. Glennie’s second of the game at 8:27 restored the three-goal lead for Texas but St. John’s was able to respond quickly as Jordan Hill notched his first goal of the playoffs less than a minute later.
That’s as close as the IceCaps would come as the Stars’ Mike Hedden scored into an empty net in the dying minutes to seal the victory and the lead in the series for Texas.
Nilstorp earned the victory with his 26-save performance, while Hutchinson turned away 17 shots.
NOTES FROM LAST GAME: Scratched for St. John’s: Kris Fredheim, Ryan Olsen, Cody Lampl, JC Lipon, Ryan Schnell, Julian Melchiori, Brandon MacLean, Austen Brassard, Jussi Olkinuora, Eddie Pasquale… The IceCaps went 0-for-4 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill… The power play goal allowed by the IceCaps snapped a streak of 34 straight kills dating back to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals versus the Norfolk Admirals… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Scott Glennie 2. Travis Morin 3. Dustin Jeffrey… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Jordan Hill.
GAME ONE STRUGGLES: The Texas Stars exploded for three goals on four shots in the second period of Game 1, en route to a 6-3 win. The six goals allowed by the IceCaps are the most goals they have allowed during the entire 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs. St. John’s is just 1-3 in Game 1’s this postseason.
IT TAKES (GAME) TWO: The St. John’s IceCaps are still hoping for a split in Texas with a win in Game 2 and the numbers currently play in their favour. The IceCaps have won two straight Game 2’s after losing Game 1 (vs Norfolk and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) and boast a 2-1 record in Game 2 thus far in the 2014 playoffs. The IceCaps have split the opening pair of games in all three rounds to date.
BOUNCING BACK: The IceCaps have proven to be a strong team when coming off a loss. They have not lost back-to-back games in the 2014 playoffs and have twice responded to a loss with three consecutive wins.
SCORING LEADERS: There are two players tied for the playoff scoring race and they’re both playing in the Calder Cup Finals. The IceCaps’ Andrew Gordon added an assist in Game 1, bumping his total to 17 points (8G, 9A). Travis Morin exploded for a pair of goals in the series opener, also giving him 17 points (6G, 11A).
O’NEILL ON FIRE: Will O’Neill is currently riding a three-game goal streak and a five-game point streak (he missed one game in the middle of the streaks due to suspension). O’Neill’s 14 points are second on the club this postseason and his 11 assists tie him with the Stars’ Morin for tops in the AHL.
FAST FACTS: The IceCaps have now scored first in 14-of-17 games this postseason. Texas has opened the scoring just six times in 17 games, winning five of those.