CEDAR PARK, TX – The Texas Stars used a three-goal second period to defeat the St. John’s IceCaps 6-3 in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals at Cedar Park Center Sunday night. With the win, the Stars seized a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Scott Glennie led the way with two goals and an assist, while Travis Morin potted a pair. Chris Mueller had a goal and two assists and Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 26-of-29 shots.
For the IceCaps, Will O’Neill, Kael Mouillierat and Jordan Hill had the tallies, while Michael Hutchinson made 17 saves on 22 shots.
Texas opened the scoring just over three minutes into the game on a power play after the IceCaps were penalized for too many men on the ice. On a broken play in the IceCaps’ zone, Glennie went cross-crease to Morin, who snapped it past a sprawling Hutchinson for a 1-0 Stars lead.
Just 1:47 into the second, the IceCaps tied things at one apiece on a goal by O’Neill. After a mad scramble in front of the Stars’ net, O’Neill found the loose puck and buried a wrister past Nilstorp to make it 1-1.
Just minutes later, the Stars regained the lead on Mueller’s sixth of the playoffs. Speeding in off the right wing, Mueller picked the top corner over Hutchinson’s glove to make it 2-1 Texas.
The Stars added to their lead at 12:17 of the second on a Glennie’s first of two on the night. Trailing the rush, Glennie was open in the high slot and took a pass before beating Hutchinson with a wrist shot on the glove side to make it 3-1.
Late in the frame, Texas kept it coming with a shorthanded tally. After a failed two-on-one rush, Brendan Ranford recovered the puck behind the net and fed it in front to an open Morin, who slid a shot past Hutchinson for a 4-1 lead.
The IceCaps got one back in the early stages of the third on Mouillierat’s fourth. Brenden Kichton made a nifty move to beat a Stars defender before the puck found the stick of Mouillierat near the hash marks. Mouillierat slid the puck through traffic and underneath Nilstorp to make it 4-2.
Texas got that one back near the midway point of the third on Glennie’s second of the game. Mueller fed the puck out front to Dustin Jeffrey, who found a streaking Glennie near the right hash marks for a 5-2 lead.
The IceCaps displayed their trademark resilience with a quick counter on Jordan Hill’s first of the playoffs just 51 seconds later at 9:18. Hill’s seeing-eye point shot went off the far post and in to cut the deficit to two at 5-3.
That’s as close as St. John’s would come, however, as Mike Hedden scored into the empty net to secure the Game 1 victory.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals goes Monday night at Cedar Park Center (7:30 PM EDT/10:00 PM NDT). Catch all the action with broadcaster Brian Rogers on Rogers digital channel 471 and www.ahllive.com, or listen at www.stjohnsicecaps.com and 930 AM. Pregame show gets underway 30 minutes before puck drop.
Notes: 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… Will O’Neill extended his goal scoring streak to three games and his point streak to five games… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Scott Glennie 2. Travis Morin 3. Dustin Jeffrey… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Jordan Hill.