Texas Stars Clinch Top Seed in Western Conference in Spite of Loss
CEDAR PARK, TX - The Texas Stars clinched first place in the Western Conference in spite of losing a 3-0 lead and falling to the Rockford IceHogs 5-3 Saturday night at Cedar Park Center in their 2012-13 regular season finale.
Texas took the lead midway through the opening period when defenseman Kevin Connauton scored from the red line as his slap shot eluded Rockford starting goaltender Henrik Karlsson at 11:57. Rookie center Radek Faksa had the lone assist on the goal to record his first career pro point.
Just 22 seconds into the second period it was 2-0 Stars as Scott Glennie found the net for his fifth goal of the season, assisted by Justin Dowling and Mike Hedden. Luke Gazdic gave Texas a three goal lead 42 seconds later as he slammed a loose puck through the legs of Karlsson, chasing the IceHogs starter from the game, replaced by backup Kent Simpson. The goal was assisted by Curtis McKenzie and Joe Morrow, marking McKenzie's first pro point. Rockford got on the board at 8:41 as rookie defenseman Adam Clendening stole a clearing attempt and beat a screened Cristopher Nilstorp for an unassisted goal.
The IceHogs poured on the pressure in the third period and pulled within one goal when Brandon St. Pierre potted an unassisted goal at 7:50. Just 43 seconds later it was tied as Clendening found Brendon Svendsen for a back-door tap-in at 8:33. The tie game lasted all of three minutes before a rejuvenated IceHogs lineup grabbed their first lead of the night on Ben Smith's 26th goal of the season at 11:28. Smith scored again at 17:35 to make it 5-3 Rockford and even though Texas pulled Nilstorp for an extra attacker the game ended 5-3. In a bizarre scenario, all four games of the season series between the Stars and IceHogs saw the home team take a 3-0 lead and then lose the game.
Kent Simpson stopped all 32 shots he faced in 38:56 of relief for Rockford to record his first career AHL victory. IceHogs starter Henrik Karlsson allowed three goals on 15 shots and finished with a no decision. Texas goalie Cristopher Nilstorp made a season-high 49 saves, but allowed five goals and took the loss. The IceHogs out-shot the Stars 54-47 and went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Texas was 0-for-1 on the man-advantage. Prior to the start of the game, Texas had already clinched the top seed in the conference thanks to a Toronto Marlies shootout loss earlier in the afternoon.
The Texas Stars will be announcing their 2013 Calder Cup Playoff opponent and schedule on Sunday evening once the final regular season games conclude. Tickets and playoff packages for all Texas Stars home post-season games are on sale now. Additionally, 2013-14 Season Tickets are now on sale. Put your deposit for 2013-14 season tickets and receive priority for both Texas Stars 2013 Calder Cup playoff tickets and 2013-14 season seat selection. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.
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