Another day, another overtime for the Texas Stars and the St. John’s IceCaps in the Calder Cup Finals. The teams were forced into extra time for the third consecutive game, and for the third game in a row, the Texas Stars came out on top. This time, the win came with an extra incentive — the Calder Cup championship.
Tuesday’s win gave Texas a 4-1 series victory over the IceCaps, allowing the Stars to capture their first Calder Cup championship in franchise history.
The hero would be none other than defenseman Patrik Nemeth, who scored his first goal of the playoffs at the 14:30 mark of overtime to give the Stars a 4-3 win and the Calder Cup victory.
The Stars started off Tuesday’s game strong, scoring late in the first period and adding another less than five minutes into the second to take a 2-0 lead. The goals came from Mike Hedden and Brett Ritchie, their 8th and 7th goals of the playoffs, respectively.
St. John’s wasn’t going quietly, however. First, Jordan Hill notched his second of the playoffs to cut the lead in half before Josh Lunden tied things up at two, and the teams skated off the ice after 40 with a 2-2 tie.
The IceCaps would take the lead in the third period on a goal by Blair Riley, but the Stars weren’t going to lie down, either. Mike Hedden tied things up with his second of the night and ninth goal of the playoffs, and the teams were forced into yet another overtime.
Nemeth’s game-winning goal was his first career AHL playoff goal. The 22-year-old was named first star of the game.
The Calder Cup Finals finished with Texas outscoring St. John’s, 17-12, and outshooting them 192-167. That’s an average of 38.4 shots/game for Texas, and an average of 33.4 for the IceCaps.
This marks the Stars’ first Calder Cup in franchise history.
The organization made the playoffs once during their stint as the Louisville Panthers, knocked out in the first round by Kentucky in the 1999-2000 season. They made the playoffs twice as the Iowa Stars, in 2006 and 2007, but were eliminated in the first and second rounds those years, respectively, and did not qualify for the playoffs in their time as the Iowa Chops.
With the AHL season now officially over, here’s a recap of some of the top performers in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Texas’ Travis Morin led the league in playoff points, with 22 points in 21 games. He finished the postseason tied with Mike Hedden for the lead in goals, with nine goals each. Morin also finished the Calder Cup playoffs tied for the league lead in assists (13) with IceCaps defenseman Will O’Neill.
Stars left winger Brendan Ranford led all AHL rookies in the Calder Cup playoffs with 16 points (8-8) in 21 games. Behind him was Providence Bruins center Alexander Khokhlachev, who had 14 points in 12 games. Curtis McKenzie and Brett Ritchie, both of Texas, were next in line.
Hutchinson finished the Calder Cup playoffs with a 1.95 GAA and 0.938 save percentage in 1290:05 minutes played. He allowed 42 goals on 676 shots faced in 21 games. Nilstorp had a 2.17 GAA and .919 save percentage, allowing 38 goals on 470 shots faced in 19 games played.