Texas Clinches Central Division Crown with McKenzie’s Overtime WinnerApr 15, 2023
CEDAR PARK, Texas – The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, forced overtime to clinch the Central Division regular season title Saturday, before completing a 2-1 overtime victory against the Iowa Wild at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park.
The Stars secured their third division title in front of their 10th sellout crowd of the season when 6,778 fans witnessed Curtis McKenzie score a game-winning goal 2:59 into overtime Saturday night. Texas won the South Division in 2012-13 and the West Division in 2013-14, with the latter eventually resulting in the 2014 Calder Cup Championship.
Oskari Laaksonen scored the game’s first goal 8:51 into the opening period when he unloaded an explosive one-timer past Zane McIntyre from the left point off a feed by Mavrik Bourque.
Iowa evened the score 2:18 into the middle frame when Adam Beckman shelfed a shot over Matt Murray’s right shoulder to make it 1-1.
The contest eventually required overtime to determine a winner after neither side scored in the third period. By forcing the extra session, Texas picked up the point it needed to lock in the Central Division title.
McKenzie was the hero of Saturday night’s affair. His wrist shot with 2:01 to spare in overtime eyed the top-right corner of the net behind McIntyre to seal a 2-1 win for Texas.
In goal for the Stars, Murray improved to 18-10-5 while making 29 saves on 30 shots. For the Wild, McIntyre was handed the loss after he surrendered a pair of goals on 28 shots against.
Five Central Division teams will qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs, with dates, times and matchups to be announced after the regular season ends Sunday. Texas will receive a first-round bye and play the winner of a best-of-three play-in series between the fourth and fifth place teams in the division semifinals. The other best-of-five division semifinal will feature the second and third place teams, Milwaukee and Manitoba.
The Stars wrap up the regular season hosting a two-game series finale against the Wild Sunday at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park at 5:00 p.m.
|Game Info||Shots||Goaltenders||3 Stars (Ubeo Business Services)|
|Boxscore||TEX: 28||W: Murray (TEX)||1: McKenzie (TEX)|
|Photo||IA: 30||L: McIntyre (IA)||2: Murray (TEX)|
|Video||3: McIntyre (IA)|