Bunting lifts Roadrunners in Game 1

Photo: Kate Dibildox

Michael Bunting scored his second goal of the game with 8:53 gone in overtime as Tucson took a 2-1 decision over Texas in Game 1 of the Pacific Division Finals on Wednesday night.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Friday night in Tucson (10:05 p.m. ET).

Bunting collected a bouncing puck inside his own blue line and raced down the left wing to create a 2-on-1 rush. He then fired a shot from inside the left circle that beat Mike McKenna stick-side to give the Roadrunners their first-ever playoff OT win.

Game 1 was scoreless until Bunting got Tucson on the board first at 13:40 of the second period, putting home the rebound of a Mike Sislo shot for a power-play goal and a 1-0 lead.

That goal ended a streak of 110 consecutive saves over 166:05 — better than eight full periods — for McKenna, who was coming off a 47-save shutout in the Stars’ first-round series clincher nine days ago.

Texas finally broke through with a power-play goal of their own, Brian Flynn‘s third goal of the playoffs with 3:35 left in regulation, a redirection of Travis Morin‘s shot from the top of the right-wing circle. That was the first goal allowed by the Roadrunners’ Adin Hill in 178:48, ending his bid to become the first goaltender ever with three consecutive shutouts in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Hill (4-1) finished with 23 saves to earn the win. McKenna (3-2) stopped 34 of 36 shots in the loss.

Pacific Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
P1-Tucson Roadrunners vs. P2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Wed., May 2 – TUCSON 2, Texas 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Fri., May 4 – Texas at Tucson, 10:05
Game 3 – Mon., May 7 – Tucson at Texas, 8:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 9 – Tucson at Texas, 8:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 11 – Tucson at Texas, 8:00
*Game 6 – Sun., May 13 – Texas at Tucson, 10:05
*Game 7 – Mon., May 14 – Texas at Tucson, 10:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern