Stars work extra, cut deficit to 2-1

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Former AHL defenseman of the year Andrew Hutchinson earned three assists on the night and set up Ethan Graham for a one-time blast at 2:13 of overtime, which lifted Texas to a 5-4 win over Hamilton on Wednesday in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals at the Cedar Park Center.

Graham’s first career Calder Cup Playoff goal went from the right point through a screen and beat Bulldogs goaltender Curtis Sanford, and it allowed the Stars to cut Hamilton’s series lead to 2-1.

Games 4 and 5 will be in Texas on Friday and Saturday nights, respectively.

Hamilton, which had been 7-0 this postseason when scoring the opening goal, got on the board first in this one when Ryan White lit the lamp 4:44 into the contest.

But Perttu Lindgren answered fro the Stars on the power play at 10:23, and rookie Jamie Benn (pictured) registered another power play marker at 12:46 of the second period for his team-leading 11th marker of the playoffs. The 11 goals tie Benn with Hershey’s Alexandre Giroux for tops in the AHL.

Aaron Gagnon tallied Texas’ third man-advantage marker of the game with 2:42 to play in the second period, but Mike Glumac’s team-best 10th goal of the postseason pulled Hamilton within 3-2 heading into intermission.

Bulldogs forwards Brock Trotter and Ryan Russell notched power play goals in the third period, sandwiched around an even strength goal off the stick of Texas’s Warren Peters. Russell’s sixth goal of the playoffs came with 1:33 to play and ultimately sent the game to overtime.

Hutchinson’s three-assist effort gave him 13 points (4-9-13) in 14 playoff contests, ranking him second in AHL postseason scoring among defensemen, trailing only Hamilton’s Andre Benoit (3-11-14).

Stars goaltender Matt Climie emerged with the victory after making 31 saves on 35 shots in net.

The Stars (3-for-4) and Bulldogs (2-for-5) went a combined 5-for-9 on the power play in the contest.

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. W2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Fri., May 14 – HAMILTON 3, Texas 2 (OT)
Game 2 – Sun., May 16 – HAMILTON 3, Texas 1
Game 3 – Wed., May 19 – TEXAS 5, Hamilton 4 (OT)
Game 4 – Fri., May 21 – Hamilton at Texas, 8:30
Game 5 – Sat., May 22 – Hamilton at Texas, 8:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 24 – Texas at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 7 – Wed., May 26 – Texas at Hamilton, 7:30