Travis Morin’s goal with 8:46 left in regulation propelled the Texas Stars to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Marlies in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals Wednesday night at Ricoh Coliseum. The Stars now lead the series 2-1.
Morin, who snapped an eight-game goal scoring drought with an empty-net goal in Texas’ win on Monday, poked home the rebound of a Brendan Ranford shot to snap a 2-2 tie.
Patrik Nemeth and Kevin Henderson also scored for Texas. Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 20 of 22 shots.
The loss was the first at home for Toronto in this season’s playoffs and their second straight overall after opening the postseason with eight straight wins.
Game 4 of the series is Thursday night in Toronto.
Toronto tallied the only goal of the first period, scoring first for the third straight game in the series. After an offensive zone faceoff win, Marlies defenseman T.J. Brennan scored off a slap shot from the high slot at the 9:16 mark to put Toronto up 1-0.
The Stars tied the game at 3:16 of the second with a goal off the rush. Taylor Peters dropped the puck off to Nemeth, who scored from the left point as Radek Faksa screened Marlies goaltender Drew MacIntyre.
The Stars took their first lead of the night at 6:59 of the third when Brett Ritchie put a shot on net from the slot that was going wide, but Henderson redirected it past MacIntyre to put the Stars up 2-1.
Toronto answered less than four minutes later when Brennan scored his second of the night, beating Nilstorp with a shot from the left circle at the 10:15 mark to make it a 2-2 game.
The Stars took the lead for good when Jamie Oleksiak stole the puck in the neutral zone, carried it into the Toronto zone and set up Ranford, who put the puck on net and Morin knocked the rebound home to put Texas up 3-2 at the 11:14 mark.
The Stars held that lead the rest of the way, giving them a 2-1 series lead head into Thursday’s game.
* The Stars, who hit the 50 shot mark in each of the first two games, had a 30-22 advantage on the shot clock in Wednesday’s game.
*Travis Morin and Kevin Henderson led the Stars with five shots each.
*Patrik Nemeth scored his first AHL playoff goal in the game.
*Texas was 0-3 on the power play and 3-3 on the penalty kill.
*Texas signed Dallas goaltending prospect Philippe Desrosiers to a second amateur tryout contract on Wednesday. With Jack Campbell still out with an injury, Desrosiers will serve as the team’s No. 3 goaltender behind Cristopher Nilstorp and Josh Robinson.
*Campbell, Justin Dowling and Toby Petersen remain out for the Stars due to injury.
Curtis McKenzie – Travis Morin – Brendan Ranford
Mike Hedden – Dustin Jeffrey – Scott Glennie
Kevin Henderson – Chris Mueller – Brett Ritchie
Taylor Peters – Radek Faksa – Matej Stransky
Jamie Oleksiak – Cameron Gaunce
Patrik Nemeth – Jyrki Jokipakka
Derek Meech – Maxime Fortunus
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 DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.