The Texas Stars kicked off the AHL playoffs last weekend with a game one overtime victory and a game two regulation loss in the best-of-five series against the Milwaukee Admirals in Wisconsin.
The Admirals kicked off scoring in both games, with Patrick Cehlin scoring eight minutes into the first period in game one and Austin Watson scoring 12 minutes into the second period of game two.
Cehlin’s shot, a clearing attempt while the Admirals were on the power play, found the net between Texas goalie Cristopher Nilstorp and the right post to put Milwaukee up 1-0. The Stars denied every attempt on net for the remainder of the period, and with just 15 seconds in the period, tied the game with a tip-in by Matt Fraser. It was Fraser’s first goal of the playoffs and 34th of the 2012-2013 season.
The Stars took the lead in the second period with a Kevin Connauton wrist shot that soared past Milwaukee goalie Magnus Hellberg. Again, the Stars shut down the Admirals’ shots on goal, allowing just one attempt on Nilstorp in the period.
With a string of penalties in the third period, the Admirals capitalized on a four-on-three power play when Zach Hamill snuck in a rebound past Nilstorp with only seven minutes remaining in the game. Neither team could regain the lead in regulation time.
The Admirals launched into the overtime period, and killed off an early penalty to keep the battle going. At 11:44, Brett Ritchie grabbed a pass from Mike Hedden and charged toward Hellburg, firing the puck off a slap shot, finding the net and the win for Texas.
The first goal of game two came when Austin Watson picked up a rebound off a Michael Liambas shot, giving the Admirals the 1-0 lead. The Stars out-shot the Admirals 10-6 in the period, but Hellberg refused to let the puck slide past him.
The Stars fought back in the third, rallying desperately to tie the game. Despite outshooting Milwaukee 11-3 in the period, Texas couldn’t beat Hellberg in net. With only a minute and a half remaining in the game, Texas pulled Nilstorp from the goal and began pelting Hellberg with shots on goal. In the middle of Texas’ game-ending push to score, Admirals’ captain Matt Moore snagged the puck in the middle of the zone and launched it down the ice and into the Stars’ empty net with only 30 seconds remaining in the game.
The series continues tomorrow night when the Stars return home to face the Admirals in Austin for the first time in the series. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.