Stars open Finals with 6-3 win

CEDAR PARK, Texas ( … In the first-ever meeting between the teams, the Texas Stars opened the 2014 Calder Cup Finals on Sunday night with a 6-3 win over the St. John’s IceCaps at Cedar Park Center.

The Stars will take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series into Monday’s Game 2. (link: Where to watch)

Texas scored the first goal of the series just 3:08 in as Scott Glennie fed Travis Morin down low and Morin buried his fifth goal of the postseason 14 seconds into a power play. It was the first power-play goal allowed by St. John’s since Game 6 in the second round vs. Norfolk, after 34 consecutive successful penalty kills.

The IceCaps tied things up 1:47 into the second period when defenseman Will O’Neill pinched in, pounced on the rebound of a Jason Jaffray shot and wired home his third goal of the playoffs. It was the third goal in as many games played for O’Neill, who sat out Game 6 of the IceCaps’ Eastern Conference Finals series vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton due to AHL suspension.

Texas needed a little more than two minutes to regain the lead, as Dustin Jeffrey sprung Chris Mueller on a partial breakaway down the right-wing side and Mueller fired a dart to the top left corner over the shoulder of Michael Hutchinson for his sixth goal of the postseason at 3:52.

The Stars built up their lead to 3-1 with 7:43 left in the second when Glennie got in behind the IceCaps defense and took a cross-ice pass from Jeffrey, then wristed a shot past the right-hand glove of Hutchinson for his fifth playoff goal.

Morin’s second goal of the night and sixth of the playoffs made it 4-1 in favor of Texas with 3:09 left in the second. Morin and Brendan Ranford skated in on a two-on-rush, and Morin’s pass was fanned on by Ranford. But the rookie regathered the puck behind the IceCaps net and fed it back to Morin, who snapped it past Hutchinson for the first shorthanded goal allowed by St. John’s this postseason.

Texas finished the second period with three goals on four shots in the frame.

The IceCaps cut the deficit to 4-2 when Kael Mouillierat wrangled the bouncing rebound of Brenden Kichton‘s shot and sent it through traffic and past Cristopher Nilstorp at 2:36 of the third.

Glennie got his second of the game and sixth of the playoffs at 8:27, finishing off a two-touch passing play from Jeffrey and Mueller to make it 5-2 in favor of Texas, but Jordan Hill‘s seeing-eye shot through traffic beat a screened Nilstorp to bring St. John’s back within two just 51 seconds later.

Hedden put the game away with an empty-net goal at 18:19, putting the final margin at 6-3.

Glennie (2g, 1a), Mueller (1g, 2a) and Jeffrey (3a) finished with three points apiece for the Stars, who scored at least six goals on home ice for the fourth time in their last six games at Cedar Park Center.

Nilstorp (10-4) recorded 26 saves in the Game 1 victory for Texas, while Hutchinson (11-6) stopped 17 of 22 shots, allowing five goals on the night after having given up five in his five previous starts combined.

In Calder Cup Finals history, the Game 1 winner has gone on to take the series 75.3 percent of the time (58 of 77).

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 at Texas, 8:30
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