CEDAR PARK, Texas – Mike Hedden and Joe Morrow both scored their first career Calder Cup Playoff goals to lead the Texas Stars to a 2-1 win over the Oklahoma City Barons Saturday night at Cedar Park Center in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Tied at one, the series now shifts to Oklahoma for Game 3 on Monday, May 13th at 7:00 p.m. at Cox Convention Center.
The teams traded power plays early in the first period and the Barons had the better of the chances forcing goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp into making two dazzling saves to keep the game scoreless. Late in the period Texas broke through to grab its first lead of the series. Justin Dowling pounced on a turnover in the defensive zone by Andrew Hotham and sent it back to Jamie Oleksiak for a one-timer that was headed wide of the right post until Mike Hedden turned the wayward shot back on frame and into the net at 17:52. The game was Hedden’s first goal of the playoffs and was assisted by both Oleksiak and Dowling. Just 13 seconds after the goal the Stars ran into penalty trouble and ended up down two men for just over a minute, but the penalty kill came up big to keep Oklahoma City off the scoreboard.
The Barons dominated the chances early in the second period, but the momentum shifted back to the Stars in the latter half of the stanza. Just 62 seconds after Oklahoma City took a bench minor for too-many men on the ice, Joe Morrow scored a dazzling power play goal to give Texas a 2-0 lead. The rookie defenseman unleashed a lethal shot from the left point that blew by the glove of goaltender Yann Danis and into the top right corner of the net at 17:12. Kevin Connauton and Reilly Smith each had assists on Morrow’s first career Calder Cup Playoff goal.
Nilstorp continued his stellar play in the third period and looked set to record his second shutout of the post-season. The Barons ended his bid for a clean sheet with an extra attacker goal from Mark Arcobello with 1:55 left in regulation. Oklahoma City pulled Danis again trying to tie the game, but Nilstorp would not be beaten again as he led Texas to a 2-1 victory.
Cristopher Nilstorp shined once again in goal for Texas, making 27 saves on 28 shots to record his fourth win of the playoffs. Yann Danis stopped 37-of-39 shots in goal for Oklahoma City and took his third loss. The Stars out-shot the Barons 39-28 and went 1-for-5 on the power play, while the visitors were 0-for-4 with the man-advantage. The win for the Stars means the best-of-seven series is tied 1-1 heading to Oklahoma City for Games 3, 4 and 5. Follow Pro Hockey News on Twitter – @prohockeynews