Travis Morin scored 7 minutes, 20 seconds into overtime and the Texas Stars took a 2-1 lead in the Calder Cup Finals with a 2-1 victory in Game 3 against the St. John’s IceCaps.
Brendan Ranford set up the goal with seeing-eye pass to the back post where Morin tipped the puck past IceCaps goalie Michael Hutchinson.
The goal came after a bit of controversy when St. John’s thought it should have won the game 3:05 into overtime. IceCaps left wing Josh Lunden put the puck in the net but the play was blown dead by the officials after it appeared Cristopher Nilstorp had covered the puck.
While the puck beat Nilstorp after the whistle, the Swedish goalie was superb in the victory and stopped 31 of 32 shots, including a breakaway save on Patrice Cormier in overtime.
He was matched save for save by Hutchinson before the final goal. The IceCaps goalie stopped 34 of 36 shots, including a in overtime on Brett Ritchie while seated on the goal line.
Game 4 is Monday back at St. John’s Mile One Centre. With the win Texas guaranteed it will win the Calder Cup in St. John’s or will have another home game at the Cedar Park Center for Game 6.
Much earlier, Brett Ritchie gave Texas a 1-0 lead when he scored on a rebound with 4:06 remaining in the second period after an initial shot by Justin Dowling.
Before the goal, Texas hemmed the puck in the offensive for almost a minute and Dowling’s shot came from between the circles where Hutchinson couldn’t control the rebound.
The goal wasn’t even the best scoring chance of the period.
Two minutes into the period St. John’s defenseman Carl Klingberg hit the post on a wrist shot from between the circles. Eight minutes later Hutchinson made a stellar save on Morin on the power play, snagging a one-timed shot by the AHL’s MVP with his catching glove.
St. John’s outshot Texas 17-6 in the third period and forced overtime when Kael Mouillierat tied the game for St. John’s with 8:16 left in regulation.
It was his third goal of the series against his former team and was deflected past Nilstorp after an initial shot by Klingberg.