Stars Advance to Conference Finals with Overtime Win!May 11, 2018
CEDAR PARK, Texas - After 28 overtime games in the regular season and five more in the playoffs, it is only fitting that the Texas Stars punched their ticket to the Western Conference Finals in an extra fram with a 3-2 win over the Tucson Roadrunners on Friday night at H-E-B Center in front of 6,117 in attendance.
Joel L'Esperance banged home a rebound goal 8:43 into the third overtime after Gavin Bayreuther generated the chance on a shot from the right point. The series-winner was the first playoff goal of the rookie's career, and just his second goal as a Star after scoring the game-winner to send Texas to the playoffs on April 7th.
That April 7th goal by L'Esperance came against the team the Stars (7-2) will see in the Conference Finals -- the Rockford IceHogs. Game 1 is set for Friday at 7 p.m. CST at H-E-B Center.
The Stars won their second-round series in five games (4-1) to eliminate the Western Conference's top team in the regular season in Tucson (4-5). L'Esperance also added an assist along with his winning goal. Mike McKenna stopped 37 of 39 shots to secure the win. Adin Hill suffered the loss with 26 saves.
The scoring started early as Colin Markison put Texas on the board five minutes into the game on a rebound chance after L'Esperance drove the net through the right circle. Tucson took advantage on the power-play to even things up just five minutes left in the first when Lawson Crouse stuffed home a loose puck in front.
Texas labored through a second period where were outshot, 12-6, but McKenna's continued hot play for the home team opened the door for Travis Morin to make it 2-1, Texas, on a power-play strike from the right circle with 3:39 remaining.
The Stars gave themselves a chance to seize even more momentum with a second power play immediately after Morin's goal, but instead Ryan MacInnis turned it around for a shorthanded goal to even up the game again.
It was a scoreless third period with both teams pushing for the go-ahead goal. The Stars and Roadrunners play three overtime games in their series with Texas winning two of those games.
Photo Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars