The Texas Stars will head back to Cedar Park with a split in the first two games of the West Division Semifinals after winning 3-1 in Milwaukee Saturday night.
Richard Bachman stopped 29 of 30 shots, including all 14 he faced in the third period when Milwaukee had four straight power plays in the final 12 minutes of the game.
It was strong bounce back effort from Bachman, who was pulled after giving up four goals on 17 shots in the first two periods of the Game 1 loss.
“Game 1 some bounces didn’t go my way, some goals went in that I didn’t like and you’ve got to forget about it in playoff hockey and move on. That’s what I tried to do,” said Bachman. “It was nice to come out tonight, get the performance that we had and get the support I had from the team in front of me.”
“Like I’ve always said the biggest thing about Richard is his competitiveness,” said Texas coach Glen Gulutzan. “You’ve seen his resiliency tonight.”
The Stars bounced back as well, shaking off the 5-2 loss in Game 1 of the series Thursday night. Gulutzan noted his team’s stepping it up physically as one key to the game.
“We kind of got the mentality tonight that we are in the playoffs and this is playoff hockey,” said Gulutzan. “We’ve got to play to our strength, which is keep things tight and play good defense. That’s their strength too, and we just have to embrace those types of games.”
The series now shifts to Cedar Park for the next three games with the third game of the series on Tuesday.
“Getting a split on the road is a huge thing,” said Bachman. “Going back to Cedar Park with our fans, it’s an amazing atmosphere there. It’s going to be awesome going back with a win under our belt and playing in front of the home crowd.”
The Stars got into penalty trouble early Saturday night, taking three minors in a 2:39 span of the first period. Milwaukee got a five-on-three power play for 1:23 and cashed in to take a 1-0 lead as defenseman Teemu Laasko scored off a blast from the high slot at the 11:17 mark.
The Stars thought they had tied the game with 3:11 left in the first, but the goal was waved off when officials ruled that the puck went off Sawada’ skate with a distinct kicking motion involved.
The Stars got four power plays in the second period and cashed in on the third one to tie the game. Morin centered a puck from the left circle and defenseman Larsen, who had pinched down low, redirected the puck into the net with 7:08 left in the period. It was Larsen’s first AHL playoff goal.
Just under three minutes later the Stars had a two-on-lead. Right off a faceoff in the Milwaukee zone, the Gagnon and Tomas Vincour crashed the net and Gagnon put the puck past Admirals goalie Jeremy Smith with 4:26 left in the second.
The Stars got a power play early in the third, their sixth of the game, and struck again to make it a 3-1 game. Sawada sent pass from the behind net to Morin, who roofed the puck over Smith at the 4:03 mark.
Milwaukee had four power plays over the final 11:27 of the game, but Bachman and the Texas penalty kill came up big and kept Milwaukee from cutting into the lead.
*Texas defenseman Brenden Dillon, a free agent signing of the Dallas Stars, picked up his first Calder Cup Playoff point when he assisted on Aaron Gagnon’s second period goal that gave Texas a 2-1 lead.
*Defenseman Guillaume Monast was reassigned to Texas from Idaho (ECHL). Monast, who was brought up due to an injury to Jordie Benn, did not play Saturday.
Series schedule (Series tied 1-1)
Game 1 – Milwaukee 5, Texas 2
Game 2 – Texas 3, Milwaukee 1
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 19 – Milwaukee at Texas, 7:30
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 20 – Milwaukee at Texas, 7:30
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Milwaukee at Texas, 7:30
Game 6 – Mon., Apr. 25 – Texas at Milwaukee, 7:00*
Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 26 – Texas at Milwaukee, 7:00*