Shooting Stars even series with Marlies

The Texas Stars greeted Toronto with another barrage of shots in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, but this time they were able to crack Drew MacIntyre‘s armor and even the best-of-seven series with a 6-3 victory at Cedar Park Center.

After dropping Friday’s opener 5-1 despite a 50-19 advantage in shots, the Stars fired 52 more pucks at the Marlies cage in Game 2 en route to ending Toronto’s playoff win streak at eight games.

The Marlies scored the game’s first goal when leading scorer Jerry D’Amigo picked up a loose puck off a Texas turnover, skated the other way on a two-on-one and snapped a shot over the glove of Cristopher Nilstorp from the right-wing circle for a 1-0 lead just 4:22 into the game.

Brett Ritchie tied it with a power-play strike, taking a cross-ice pass from Chris Mueller and beating MacIntyre with 3:09 left in the first period.

Texas went up 2-1 at the 8:37 mark of the second as Mike Hedden raced into the offensive zone and took a shot that MacIntyre got a pad on, but Scott Glennie cleaned up the rebound for his second goal of the postseason. The Stars’ lead marked the first time the Marlies had trailed all postseason after 512 minutes and 5 seconds of action.

Toronto pulled back even just over five minutes later, however, as Josh Leivo buried a rebound from in close after Nilstorp had made several saves in succession. The power-play goal came at 13:41 and tied the score at 2-2.

Ritchie netted his second goal of the night at 16:45, taking Kevin Henderson‘s pass from behind the net and one-timing it past MacIntyre to put the Stars back in front, 3-2.

The Marlies’ Peter Holland extended his goal-scoring streak to six games with a tally at 18:11, as he picked up a loose puck in front after Korbinian Holzer‘s shot was knocked down and lifted it over a sprawling Nilstorp to tie the game at 3-3.

Texas reclaimed the lead again with 1:01 left in the middle frame. Brendan Ranford skated in low with the puck and Chris Mueller jammed it home for his fifth goal of the postseason. Mueller has now scored in four straight games for the Stars.

The Stars grabbed their first two-goal lead of the series as Glennie followed up the play and netted his second goal of the night after shots by both Hedden and Dustin Jeffrey were stopped by MacIntyre.

Travis Morin wrapped up the win with an empty-net goal with 9.9 seconds remaining.

After allowing three goals on 17 shots in Game 1, Nilstorp stopped 27 of 30 shots in Game 2 to improve to 6-2 on the postseason. MacIntyre fell to 8-1 despite making 46 saves.

Texas was 1-for-7 on the power play in a chippy Game 2. Toronto went 1-for-5.

Game 3 of the series is set for Wednesday in Toronto.

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
1-Texas Stars vs. 3-Toronto Marlies
| Series Snapshot
Game 1 – Fri., May 23 – Toronto 5, TEXAS 1
Game 2 – Mon., May 26 – TEXAS 6, Toronto 3
Game 3 – Wed., May 28 – Texas at Toronto, 7:00
Game 4 – Thu., May 29 – Texas at Toronto, 7:00
Game 5 – Sat., May 31 – Texas at Toronto, 3:00
*Game 6 – Mon., June 2 – Toronto at Texas, 8:30
*Game 7 – Tue., June 3 – Toronto at Texas, 8:30
   *if necessary… All times Eastern