CEDAR PARK, Texas (theahl.com) … Michael Hutchinson turned in a virtuoso 49-save performance as the St. John’s IceCaps held on for a 2-1 win over the Texas Stars in Game 2 of the 2014 Calder Cup Finals on Monday night.
With the best-of-seven series square at one game apiece, the teams fly more than 2,600 miles (4,200 km) on Tuesday and get back at it with Game 3 in St. John’s on Wednesday night.
Texas controlled play for the first four minutes of Monday’s contest, but St. John’s got on the board at 4:05 as they converted off a two-on-one rush. Eric O’Dell took a lead pass from Zach Redmond and raced down the right side. Cristopher Nilstorp got a big piece of his shot, but Kael Mouillierat crashed the net and poked in the rebound before it could be cleared away.
Mouillierat’s fifth goal of the postseason marked the 15th time in 18 playoff games that the IceCaps have scored first.
Hutchinson (12-6) made 16 saves in the first period, including a stop on Curtis McKenzie as he skated in alone with 2:44 left in the frame.
Texas evened things up on the first shift of the second period as Travis Morin had two shots blocked but Brendan Ranford was there in front to gather the loose puck and knock home for his eighth goal of the playoffs at 29 seconds.
But the IceCaps pulled back in front 44 seconds later when Kyle MacKinnon found Blair Riley from behind the net and Riley one-timed a quick shot from low in the slot for his second goal of the postseason.
Both teams had great chances throughout the second, but the middle frame ended with the IceCaps holding a 2-1 lead. Shots through 40 minutes were 30-27 in favor of the Stars.
Hutchinson made a point-blank stop on Kevin Henderson with 13:05 left in the third to keep it a 2-1 game, and a little over a minute later he sprawled across the crease to deny Ranford on a wraparound attempt. He would go on to stop all 20 Stars shots in the final period to preserve the win.
For the third straight series, St. John’s rebounded from a Game 1 loss with a Game 2 victory; all three wins were by 2-1 scores.
Nilstorp (10-5) was sharp all night himself, stopping 33 of 35 shots for the Stars.
The IceCaps were scoreless on the game’s only power-play opportunity for either side.
2014 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
W1-Texas Stars vs. E4-St. John’s IceCaps
Game 1 – Sun., June 8 – TEXAS 6, St. John’s 3
Game 2 – Mon., June 9 – St. John’s 2, TEXAS 1
Game 3 – Wed., June 11 – Texas at St. John’s, 6:00
Game 4 – Mon., June 16 – Texas at St. John’s, 6:00
Game 5 – Tue., June 17 – Texas at St. John’s, 6:00
*Game 6 – Thu., June 19 – St. John’s at Texas, 8:30
*Game 7 – Mon., June 23 – St. John’s at Texas, 8:30
*if necessary… All times Eastern