As the Calder Cup Finals continue, things are getting more interesting. After the Texas Stars took game one, the St. John’s IceCaps rallied for a 2-1 win on Monday to tie the series at one win each.
Tuesday’s game would see IceCaps goaltender Michael Hutchinson rack up a 49-save performance as the Stars continued their high-shooting ways. Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp, meanwhile, had 33 saves in the loss.
St. John’s opened the scoring on Monday with a goal by Kael Mouillierat at the 4:05 mark of the first period. The IceCaps would retain the lead for the rest of the first period, but once the second period came, Texas would tie it up quickly. Stars left winger Brendan Ranford would score his team-leading 8th goal of the Calder Cup playoffs to tie the game at one.
The Stars lead was short-lived, however. In fact, it was just 44 seconds later that St. John’s would take the lead on a goal by Blair Riley. Riley’s second goal of the Calder Cup playoffs would be all it took for the IceCaps, who held on for the eventual 2-1 victory.
Goaltending is truly the key against the Stars. They’re a team that loves to shoot, and they’ll do what they can to keep putting pucks on net, again and again. Without solid goaltending, no team has a chance against them — and even with a good goaltender, it still may not work out. See the Toronto Marlies; Drew MacIntyre was spectacular in the third round against Texas, but the team effort just couldn’t get it done.
Ranford is a player that the IceCaps will have to keep under control. He had eight shots last night, most of anyone on the team and accounting for 16 percent of the shots taken by the Stars. Dustin Jeffrey and Matej Stransky are two other players that the IceCaps should keep an eye on. While both were held pointless last night, they had six shots on goal each.
Game three of the Calder Cup Finals series is June 11 at 6 p.m. EST. Since there’s an NHL game that night, the game will be broadcast on a tape-delay on NHL Network, Thursday at 11 a.m. You can watch live on Leafs TV or AHLLive.com. Game four will then be held on June 16, with game five the next day. All three games are to be held in St. John’s, as the series follows a 2-3-2 format due to the distance between the teams — over 3400 miles.