ST. JOHN’S, NL — The Texas Stars rallied from a three-goal deficit to come away with a 4-3 overtime victory over the St. John’s IceCaps in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals Monday night at Mile One Centre.
Travis Morin scored the game-winner 2:24 into the extra session, his second goal of the game and second straight overtime winner. With the win, the Stars took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Ben Chiarot, Carl Klingberg, and Kael Mouillierat had the markers for the IceCaps, who had a commanding 3-0 lead before the Stars mounted a ferocious comeback. Michael Hutchinson made 34 saves in a losing effort.
Chiarot staked the IceCaps to a 1-0 lead 13:02 into the opening frame, cashing in his second tally of the Calder Cup playoffs with St. John’s down a man. After Patrice Cormier won the draw, Chiarot took the feed from Adam Lowry before snapping a point shot that beat Cristopher Nilstorp high over the blocker.
With a minute remaining in the period, Nilstorp and Jamie Oleksiak came to the rescue to deny John Albert from finishing on what looked to be a sure wraparound goal, instead sprawling to deflect his shot off the post to keep Texas trailing by only a goal after 20 minutes of play.
The IceCaps came out strong again in the middle stanza, however, when Klingberg extended their advantage to two just 57 seconds in. Busting into the Texas zone, Klingberg finished off a give-and-go play with Mouillierat at the line by waltzing past the Stars’ defense before backhanding it past Nilstorp.
Mouillierat found the twine himself midway through the frame, this time with the IceCaps on a 5-on-3 man advantage. Taking the pass from Will O’Neill, Mouillierat ripped a one-timer short side from inside the circle.
Texas got on the board at 15:33, when Morin took a behind-the-net pass from Brendan Ranford and made no mistake firing it five-hole on Hutchinson to make it 3-1.
Less than three minutes later, Curtis McKenzie followed up on the rebound of Morin’s shot, burying it low past Hutchinson to draw the Stars to within one.
The Stars continued to pressure for the equalizer in the third period – with Hutchinson making a goal-line snag near the nine-minute mark to keep Brett Ritchie’s shot from crossing the line – before Ritchie eventually capitalized with just over two minutes left in regulation, wristing a shot high on Hutchinson from in tight to tie things up 3-3 and send the game to overtime.
In overtime, Morin took the pass from Ranford on the rush and one-timed a shot that eluded Hutchinson high over the glove, to win the game and take a 3-1 series lead.
Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals goes Tuesday night (7:30 PM NT) at Mile One Centre. Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers on Rogers TV, Eastlink TV and AHL Live, or listen at www. stjohnsicecaps.com or 930AM. Pre-game kicks off at 7:00.
NOTES: Not dressed for St. John’s: Ryan Olsen, Cody Lampl, J.C. Lipon, Ryan Schnell, Josh Lunden, Julian Melchiori, Brandon MacLean, Austen Brassard, Jussi Olkinuora, Eddie Pasquale… Kael Mouillierat has scored a single tally in each game of the Calder Cup Finals (4)… St. John’s went 1-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill… St. John’s outshot Texas 21-5 in the first period, before being outshot 38-35 overall… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Travis Morin 2. Brett Ritchie 3. Carl Klingberg… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Kael Mouillierat.