With back-to-back victories at home, the Texas Stars have pushed past the Milwaukee Admirals in the first round of the 2012-2013 Calder Cup playoffs and will now face the Oklahoma City Barons in the semi-finals.
Alex Chaisson, who spent much of the season in Dallas, hammered home big goals and the game four win for the Stars while Cristopher Nilstorp’s towering presence in net held the Admirals’ offensive forays at bay.
Game three’s 2-0 victory marked Nilstorp’s first career playoff shutout and put the Stars up 2-1 over the Admirals in the series. Chaisson scored the first goal of the game in the third period, despite numerous attempts on both nets throughout the previous two periods. The Stars launched a total of 19 shots at Admirals goalie Magnus Hellberg in the first two periods while Milwaukee sent 10 toward Nilstorp.
Justin Dowling assisted on the Chaisson goal for his 15th assist of the season and first of the playoffs. The goal was Chaisson’s first of the playoffs and 14th of the season.
With six minutes remaining in the game, Kevin Connauton slammed the puck past Hellberg while the Stars were on a power play, giving Dallas a two-goal lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Milwaukee pulled Hellberg with two minutes left on the clock, but the Admirals couldn’t capitalize with the man advantage. In total, Hellberg faced 31 shots and Nilstorp turned away 21.
Excitement in game four kicked off much earlier than in game three with the Stars taking the lead halfway through the first period. Leading goal scorer Matt Fraser slid the puck between Hellberg’s pads off a pass from Colton Sceviour, recording his 34th goal of the season and second of the playoffs.
Chaisson turned up the heat on the Admirals just a minute and a half into the second period, tipping in a pass from Connauton and giving the Stars a 2-0 lead.
The Admirals wouldn’t be silenced, however, and cut the lead to one with a goal by Kevin Henderson a minute and a half into the third period. Milwaukee battled hard for the tie, sending 18 shots toward Nilstorp in the third period, but the 6-foot-4 Swede prevailed. The 34-out-of-35 shot game pushed Nilstorp’s save percentage to 0.963 for the season.
Round two against the Barons begins Thursday night in Austin. Pushing past the second round will be a battle for the Stars who went 4-7-1 against the Barons in the regular season. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Cedar Park Center.