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Calder Cup Finals: Marlies edge Stars to grab 2-1 series lead

Dries scores, but Texas struggles to generate offense in a 2-1 loss in Cedar Park

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals looked a lot like Game 2. It was tightly played and low scoring.

The only difference was that the Toronto Marlies came out on top this time, defeating the Texas Stars, 2-1, at H-E-B Center on Tuesday to take a 2-1 lead in the AHL's championship series.

Game 4 is Thursday night in Cedar Park.

The Stars, who did a good job of bottling up the Marlies' offense in a 2-1 win in Toronto on Sunday, had the tables turned on them in Tuesday's game at H-E-B Center. The Stars struggled to generate offense chances.

"They really shut us down offensively. We didn't get a lot of chances in the game and when we did get chances [Toronto goaltender Garret] Sparks made some good saves," said Texas coach Derek Laxdal. "We probably didn't have the same amount of guys going as we did in Toronto."

Sheldon Dries scored the lone goal for Texas, and Mike McKenna stopped 22 of 24 shots.

"I thought we stuck to our game plan tonight with the hitting and the physicality," Dries said. "But they've got a good goalie. We've got to find a way to beat him more than once tonight."

Video: Texas Stars drop Game 3 of Calder Cup Finals

Chris Mueller and Calle Rosen scored goals, and Garret Sparks stopped 19 of 20 shots for the Marlies.

"We had some desperation in our game," Toronto captain Ben Smith told Marlies TV. "That showed throughout. Guys were physical, guys were working, and it was nice to come out on top."

After no scoring in the first period, Dries scored on the rush from the left circle to put the Stars ahead 1-0 at the 55-second mark of the second period.

But the Marlies would tie the game three minutes later when Andreas Johnsson set up Mueller who scored from close range at the 3:55 mark. The Marlies would take a 2-1 lead at 12:28 of the second on a Rosen shot from the point.

The Stars had some quality chances in the third. Texas captain Curtis McKenzie just missed on the redirection of a Justin Dowling pass with about 7:30 left in the period. Then about 30 seconds later, Sparks stopped a Brent Regner backhand shot from close range, and Travis Morin's rebound attempt rang off the post.

The Stars pulled McKenna for an extra attacker with 90 seconds remaining but couldn't get the equalizer, and the Marlies held on for a 2-1 victory in Game 3.

"It was a great game. Give it to [the Marlies]; they came in here and did their job, beating us at home," said Regner. "We've got to come back and respond on Thursday."


  • All three games in the series have been decided by one goal.

  • Texas is 9-4 in one-goal games in the playoffs.

  • Toronto is 7-1 in one-goal games in the playoffs.

  • The team scoring first is 0-3 in the series.

  • Sheldon Dries' goal was his eighth of the playoffs, tying him with Texas captain Curtis McKenzie for the AHL postseason lead.

  • Toronto outshot the Stars 24-20 on Tuesday.

  • Dillon Heatherington led Texas with 5 shots on goal.

  • There was one penalty called in the game and that was a tripping penalty on McKenzie with 5:58 left in the third period.

  • Texas went with the same lineup as Sunday's Game 2 in Toronto.

  • Texas forward Denis Gurianov was a healthy scratch for a fourth straight game.

  • Attendance in Cedar Park Tuesday at 6,863, a sellout.


Texas lineup

Travis Morin - Justin Dowling - Curtis McKenzie 
Jason Dickinson - Sheldon Dries - Remi Elie 
Colin Markison - Roope Hintz - Brian Flynn 
Samuel Laberge - Austin Fyten - Joel L'Esperance

Dillon Heatherington - Brent Regner 
Andrew Bodnarchuk - Reece Scarlett 
Gavin Bayreuther - Matt Mangene

Mike McKenna 
Landon Bow


Calder Cup Finals (Toronto leads 2-1)

Game 1 - Sat., June 2 - Texas at Toronto: Marlies 6, Stars 5 
Game 2 - Sun., June 3 - Texas at Toronto: Stars 2, Marlies 1 
Game 3 - Tue., June 5 - Toronto at Texas: Marlies 2, Stars 1 
Game 4 - Thu., June 7 - Toronto at Texas, 7:00 p.m. CT (Fox Sports Southwest Plus, NHL Network) 
Game 5 - Sat., June 9 - Toronto at Texas, 7:00 p.m. CT (Fox Sports Southwest & Plus, NHL Network) 
*Game 6 - Tue., June 12 - Texas at Toronto, 6:00 p.m. CT (NHL Network) 
*Game 7 - Thu., June 14 - Texas at Toronto, 6:00 p.m. CT (NHL Network) 
*if necessary

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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