Texas Stars fall in playoff opener

The Texas Stars dropped their opener in the Calder Cup Playoffs, falling 5-2 in Game 1 of the West Division Semifials at Milwaukee Thursday night.

Milwaukee, which scored seven goals in six games against Texas during the regular season series, scored five times on 25 shots in this game.

“They got their chances and the chances they got early, they put them in,” said Texas defenseman Maxime Fortunus. “We started the game really strong. We made some plays early in the game and we even got an early goal. They got opportunities and their goalie made real big saves.”

The Stars struck first, cashing in on the game’s first power play chance of the game when Aaron Gagnon scored on a shot from the left circle 9:48 into the game.

But the Admirals bounced back to score twice in a 2:53 span later in the first to take a 2-1 lead, and never looked back. Milwaukee extended it to 3-1 in the second and Texas had a five-on-three power play for 1:05 with a chance to get back into the game, but couldn’t take advantage.

Just over three minutes after the power plays expired for Texas, Milwaukee scored to make it a 4-1 game.

“It was frustrating. It was a couple of mental breakdowns where we weren’t going to the right places at the right time and weren’t strong on the puck, making sure it got out of our zone,” said Texas forward Ray Sawada. “In the playoffs you’ve got to play well and hard all the time because good teams are going to capitalize on their chances.”

Texas goalie Richard Bachman was pulled after the second period. He gave up four goals on 17 shots. Tyler Beskorowany played the final 20 minutes, stopping seven of eight shots.

Mathieu Tousignant scored in the third period for the Stars. Gabriel Bourque had two goals and three assists for Milwaukee and Chris Mueller had two goals and two assists.

Game 2 of the West Division Semifinals is Saturday in Milwaukee.

“It’s going to be a big battle. We’ve had good games against them all year,” said Fortunus. “If we play good defensively we’ll get our chances at the offensive end.”

Series schedule (Milwaukee leads 1-0)

Game 1 – Milwaukee 5, Texas 2

Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 16 – Texas at Milwaukee, 7:00

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*

*If necessary