MILWAUKEE, WI — Sixty minutes wasn’t enough to produce a winner, but Texas rookie Brett Ritchie fired the puck past Milwaukee goaltender Magnus Hellberg at 11:44 of the first overtime for a 3-2 win and a 1-0 series lead. Mike Hedden and Kevin Connauton assisted.
Neither the Admirals or the Stars are known for putting their opponents on the power play, but three of the four regulation goals were scored with the man-advantage. Milwaukee was 2-5 and Texas was 1-7.
Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a Patrick Cehlin power play goal at 12:05 with just three seconds left with the extra man, getting the crowd of 3,053 into the game and seemingly taking over the momentum. Joshua Shalla and Zach Hamill assisted on the goal.
The Stars took back the momentum with just 16 seconds left in the period with the only even strength goal in regulation. Matt Fraser, who was just returned to Texas from the Dallas Stars, beat Hellberg with a tip in to tie the game at one. Travis Morin and Colton Scevious earned the assists.
Texas carried that momentum into the second period, outshooting the Admirals 11-1 and scoring the period’s only goal on the power play. Connauton blasted a wicked left circle slap shot past Admiral’s goaltender Magnus Helberg to take a 2-1 lead. Max Fortunus and Hedden assisted. Texas outshot Milwaukee 44-31.
The third period was dominated by penalties and numerous whistles making it difficult for either team to move the puck with any continuity. But Milwaukee was able to tie the game at two at 7:11 when Hamill slipped a rebound past Cristopher Nilstorp, assisted by Brad Winchester and Mattias Ekholm.
Despite having the number one seed in the west, the first two games were scheduled to be played in Milwaukee. Even though the Stars have a potential three games on home ice, they wanted to win at least one in Milwaukee and not return home down two games to none in a best of five.
This was a pivotal game for both teams and the pressure is now on Milwaukee to even the series or return to Texas down two games.
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