The Texas Stars’ season came to an end in Milwaukee Monday night. The Stars fell 3-2 in double overtime to the Milwaukee Admirals, who took the West Division Semifinals series 4-2.
The Stars outshot the Admirals 18-7 in the two overtimes, but Mark Van Guilder’s goal at 10:42 of the second overtime was the game-winner for Milwaukee. Ryan Thang put a puck on a net and Van Guilder put the rebound past Stars goalie Richard Bachman.
Three of the last four games in the series went to overtime and the last four games of the series were all decided by one goal.
"Every game could have went either way. That's playoff hockey," said Stars forward Travis Morin. "It was two evenly matched teams, a majority of the bounces went their way and they converted on them."
The Stars made it to the Calder Cup Finals last season, their inaugural season in the AHL.
"The series was well-fought. We battled really hard. We played really hard," said Texas forward Greg Rallo. "Last year we were really fortunate. We got some bounces. In the playoffs you play hard and sometimes you get the bounces and sometimes you don't. I am not taking anything away from their play. They came at us hard. The series was evenly matched. You go to overtime and it takes just one shot and you never know what can happen."
Milwaukee, the AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators the first place team in the West Division during the regular season, will move on to play the Houston Aeros in the West Division Finals.
Milwaukee opened the scoring 4:20 into the game when Mike Bartlett scored off a scramble in front of the Texas net to five the Admirals a 1-0 lead.
The Stars drew even with a power play goal at 4:41 of the second period. Defenseman Dan Spang put a shot on net from the slot and Colton Sceviour backhanded the rebound past Milwaukee goaltender Jeremy Smith to make it a 1-1 game.
Texas goalie Richard Bachman came up with a big save with about two minutes remaining in the second, denying Milwaukee forward Chris Mueller on a shorthanded breakaway bid.
Milwaukee thought it had taken a 2-1 lead with 14.7 seconds left in the second period when the puck when into the net during a pileup in front of the Texas net, but the goal was waved off because a Milwaukee player apparently played the puck with his hand.
The Admirals took the lead 1:22 into the third period. After a Texas turnover, Andreas Thuresson scored off a one-timer from the top of the left faceoff circle to make it a 2-1 Milwaukee lead.
The Stars tied the game at 2-2 with 12:46 remaining when Morin roofed a backhand shot from close range.
Texas dominated the first overtime, outshooting the Admirals 12-2. Texas forward Luke Gazdic had a great chance, but Smith made a great pad save. Texas also had the only power play of the first overtime.
*Texas lost center Aaron Gagnon to injury during the game.
*Texas forward Mathieu Tousignant did not play due to injury.
*Travis Morin (3 goals, 4 assists) and Ray Sawada (1 goal, 6 assists) were the top scorers in the series for Texas with seven points.
*Texas Goalie Richard Bachman was 2-4 with a 2.29 goals against average and a .917 save percentage in the series.
*Milwaukee goalie Jeremy Smith stopped 39 of 40 overtime shots during the series.
West Division Semifinals (Milwaukee wins 4-2)
Game 1 – Milwaukee 5, Texas 2
Game 2 – Texas 3, Milwaukee 1
Game 3 – Texas 3, Milwaukee 2 (OT)
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 20 – Milwaukee 3, Texas 2
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Milwaukee 2, Texas 1 (OT)
Game 6 – Mon., Apr. 25 – Milwaukee 3, Texas 2 (2OT)