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Photo: Andy Nietupski

Stars shine in Game 4, square Finals at 2-2

CEDAR PARK, Texas (theahl.com)Justin Dowling‘s goal with 10:02 left in regulation sent the Texas Stars to a 3-2 win over the Toronto Marlies in Game 4 of the 2018 Calder Cup Finals on Thursday night.

The AHL’s 82nd championship series is even at two games apiece with Game 5 scheduled for Saturday night in Cedar Park (8 p.m. ET, TSN2, NHL Network, Leafs Nation Network, Fox Sports Southwest, NHL Network Radio). Game 6 will follow in Toronto on Tuesday.

Dowling scored his second goal of the Finals and fourth of the postseason on a nifty deflection of Matt Mangene‘s point shot, giving the Stars the lead back after the Marlies had rallied from two goals down.

Texas jumped out to a 1-0 lead at the 10:50 mark of the opening period as captain Curtis McKenzie banged home the rebound of a Travis Morin shot during a Stars power play.

McKenzie made it 2-0 six minutes into the second period, taking a centering feed from Dowling and putting home his fourth goal of the Finals and league-leading 10th of the playoffs.

Texas appeared headed to the locker room with a two-goal lead, but Toronto struck twice in a 40-second span to quickly draw even.

Dmytro Timashov was credited with the Marlies’ first goal of the game at 16:11 when Stars defenseman Brent Regner inadvertently swatted the puck into his own net.

Then at 16:51, Andreas Johnsson finished off a give-and-go during a two-on-one break with Justin Holl, tying the game at 2-2.

Toronto finished with a 31-18 advantage in shots, but Mike McKenna (13-6) made 29 saves to earn the win.

Garret Sparks (12-4) stopped 15 shots in the loss.

NOTES: Attendance was 6,863, the fourth consecutive sellout to begin the series… The Calder Cup Finals are tied at 2-2 for the first time since 2011… In Finals history, the team winning Game 5 of a 2-2 best-of-seven championship series has gone on to win the series 19 of 20 times… This is the first time since 1974 (Hershey vs. Providence) that the first four games of a Calder Cup Finals have all been decided by a single goal… Texas was 1-for-2 on the power play in Game 4, improving to 4-for-10 in the series… Toronto was 0-for-2, falling to 1-for-11 in the Finals.

2018 Calder Cup Finals (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. P2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Sat., June 2 – TORONTO 6, Texas 5 | Recap/Highlights
Game 2 – Sun., June 3 – Texas 2, TORONTO 1 | Recap/Highlights
Game 3 – Tue., June 5 – Toronto 2, TEXAS 1 | Recap/Highlights
Game 4 – Thu., June 7 – TEXAS 3, Toronto 2
Game 5 – Sat., June 9 – Toronto at Texas, 8:00, TSN2, NHLN, LNN, FSSW, FSSW+
Game 6 – Tue., June 12 – Texas at Toronto, 7:00, TSN2, NHLN, LNN
*Game 7 – Thu., June 14 – Texas at Toronto, 7:00, TSN2, NHLN, LNN
*if necessary… All times Eastern