Graham Sends Stars Past Bulldogs in OT, Texas Trims Series Lead to 2-1
Cedar Park, TX - The Texas Stars (9-5) defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs (10-5) 5-4 in overtime on Wednesday night in front of 4,535 fans at Cedar Park Center in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. Stars defenseman Ethan Graham scored the game-winning goal 2:13 into overtime, giving Texas its first win of the series. Hamilton leads the best-of-seven series 2-1. Forwards Jamie Benn and Perttu Lindgren each had a goal and an assist, as Texas improved to 5-1 at Cedar Park Center in the playoffs. Stars defenseman Andrew Hutchinson dished out three assists, as the two teams combined for five power-play goals on the night. Centers Warren Peters and Aaron Gagnon also scored in the Stars victory. Texas goalie Matt Climie (2-2) made 31 saves in his second win of the playoffs. Bulldogs' goalie Curtis Sanford (4-1) stopped 29 Texas shots in the loss, ending his four-game winning streak. The Stars host Game 4 on Friday, May 21st at 7:30 PM.
Hamilton opened the scoring at 4:44 of the first period when forward Ryan White picked up a rebound in front of the net and fired a shot past Stars goalie Matt Climie. White's fourth goal of the postseason put the Bulldogs ahead 1-0. Texas countered at 10:23 with a power-play goal, tying the game 1-1. Center Perttu Lindgren found a rebound in front of the net and chipped a shot over the shoulder of Hamilton goalie Curtis Sanford. Lindgren's fifth goal of the playoffs was assisted by defenseman Garrett Stafford and forward Jamie Benn.
The game remained tied 1-1 until 12:46 of the middle period when Benn scored on a power play. Benn stickhandled from the right-wing side into the Hamilton crease, forcing the puck past Sanford for the go-ahead goal. Lindgren and defenseman Andrew Hutchinson notched assists on Benn's team-leading 11th goal of the postseason.
The goal marked the first lead of the series for Texas. The Stars increased their lead to 3-1 with 2:42 remaining in the middle frame. Center Aaron Gagnon picked up a rebound at the left-wing circle and fired a shot past Sanford. Winger Francis Wathier and center Greg Rallo tallied assists on Gagnon's fifth goal of the playoffs. Hamilton cut Texas' lead to 3-2 after winger Mike Glumac fired a one-timer from the high-slot past Climie on the stickside. Glumac's team-leading tenth goal came at 18:20 of the period.
At 7:39 of the third period, Hamilton tied the game 3-3 with a power-play goal by Brock Trotter scored from the corner off a one-timer. The Stars went ahead 4-3 at 15:01 when forward Warren Peters found a rebound in the Hamilton crease. Peters' fourth goal of the postseason was assisted by Ray Sawada and Andrew Hutchinson. With just 1:33 remaining in the third period, Hamilton tied the game 4-4. Center Ryan Russell scored his sixth goal of the playoffs, a power-play goal that sent the game to overtime.
In the extra session, the Stars struck early, getting the game-winning goal just 2:13 into overtime. Defensemen Andrew Hutchinson and Ethan Graham worked the puck along the blueline. Graham blasted a one-timer from the point, as the puck banked off a Bulldogs defender and into the Hamilton net for his first goal of the playoffs and a 5-4 Texas win.
The series continues in Cedar Park, TX for Games 4 and Game 5. Game 4 will be on Friday, May 21st at 7:30 PM at Cedar Park Center. Game 5 will be on Saturday, May 22nd at 7:00 pm at Cedar Park Center. If necessary, Games 6 and 7 would be played back in Hamilton, starting with Game 6 on Monday, May 24th at 7:30 PM (ET). Game 7 is slated for Wednesday, May 26th at 7:30 PM (ET)
To purchase a Calder Cup playoff package, which offers fans the same seat for all 16 possible home games, fans may call 512-GO-STARS. To rent a suite for a home playoff game or book a group, those interested may call 512-GO-STARS. Individual tickets for playoff games at Cedar Park Center also can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, visiting any Ticketmaster outlet or the Cedar Park Center box office, or online at ticketmaster.com.
2010-11 Season ticket packages to see the Stars play in their second season at the Cedar Park Center are on sale now, starting as low as $12.00 a seat. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com. Anyone interested in purchasing season tickets, suites, group tickets or mini-plans may call the Texas Stars front office.
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