Joakim Kemell scored with 4:35 gone in the third period, snapping a 1-1 tie and sending the Milwaukee Admirals to a 2-1 victory over Texas in Game 1 of the Central Division finals on Friday night.
The Admirals host Game 2 of the best-of-five series on Saturday before it shifts to Cedar Park for the final three games next week.
After Texas took two quick minor penalties to give Milwaukee a five-on-three power play, Kemell took a feed from Jordan Gross and one-timed a shot from the left-wing circle that beat Matt Murray for the eventual game-winner.
Luke Evangelista also scored a power-play goal for the Admirals, who were 2-for-4 with the man advantage in Game 1 to improve to 7-for-20 (35.0 percent) this postseason.
Yaroslav Askarov stopped 26 of 27 shots for his third straight win.
Rhett Gardner scored the only goal for the Stars, his team-leading sixth point of the playoffs. Murray turned aside 31 shots in the Texas net.
Central Division Finals (best-of-5)
C1-Texas Stars vs. C2-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 1 – Fri., May 12 – MILWAUKEE 2, Texas 1
Game 2 – Sat., May 13 – Texas at Milwaukee, 7:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 17 – Milwaukee at Texas, 8:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 19 – Milwaukee at Texas, 8:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 21 – Milwaukee at Texas, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern