ST. JOHN’S, NL — Patrick Nemeth scored his first goal of the playoffs 14:30 into overtime to help the Texas Stars win their first-ever Calder Cup in Game 5 Tuesday night at Mile One Centre.
The Stars, who led the game 2-0 before the IceCaps rallied to take a 3-2 advantage late in the final frame, won 4-3 to prevail in overtime for the third straight game and take the series 4-1.
Travis Morin, the regular season MVP, was also named the Calder Cup MVP after notching eight points (5G, 3A) in five games in the finals.
Mike Hedden had two goals to lead the way for Texas in Game 5, while Cristopher Nilstorp made 33 saves to take the championship.
Jordan Hill, Josh Lunden, and Blair Riley scored for St. John’s. Michael Hutchinson was strong between the pipes, stopping 41-of-45 shots.
Hedden put Texas ahead 1-0 with just over a minute remaining in the opening period. Picking up the puck from Brett Ritchie in the IceCaps’ zone, Hedden waltzed in on goal and wristed it top corner, glove side, on Hutchinson.
Texas extended its lead to two at the 4:59 mark of the second, when Ritchie – using the defender as a screen – wristed a shot from the high slot that eluded Hutchinson over the blocker.
The IceCaps cut the deficit in half at 11:06, however, on a goal from Hill. Taking the feed from Jason Jaffray, Hill fired a point shot that made its way through traffic and beat Nilstorp stick side.
Then, with 3:02 remaining in the frame, Lunden potted the equalizer for the IceCaps. Finishing off a tic-tac-toe passing play with Zach Redmond and Will O’Neill, Lunden took the cross-ice dish from Redmond and tapped it into the open goal to make it 2-2.
Riley gave St. John’s the go-ahead goal 6:33 into the final frame, when he picked off an errant Texas pass in their own zone, walked in all alone, and wristed it top shelf on Nilstorp.
The Stars tied things up at three goals apiece with 6:34 left. After Justin Dowling threw the puck on goal from the corner, it hit Hedden in front and deflected in past Hutchinson. After a lengthy review, it was deemed a good goal and for the third straight game, the teams were forced to decide things in overtime.
In the extra frame, the IceCaps’ best chance came from Eric O’Dell just over four minutes in, who forced Nilstorp to make a quick glove save to keep him from firing home the winner.
But it was Nemeth who scored the Calder Cup-winning goal at 14:30, after he make a slick move in the slot and deked before backhanding a shot top shelf to seal it for the Stars.
NOTES: Not dressed for St. John’s: Kris Fredheim, Ryan Olsen, Cody Lampl, J.C. Lipon, Ryan Schnell, Julian Melchiori, Brandon MacLean, Austen Brassard, Jussi Olkinuora, Eddie Pasquale… Kael Mouillierat saw his four-game goal-scoring streak snapped… St. John’s and Texas both went 0-for-2 on the power play… MVP of the Calder Cup Playoffs: Travis Morin… Molson Canadian Three Stars: 1. Mike Hedden 2. Zach Redmond 3. Brett Ritchie… Mary Brown’s Hardest Working Player: Ben Chiarot.