At one point in game 4 of the Calder Cup Final, the Texas Stars were being outshot in the game by a 4:1 ratio and trailed the St. John's IceCaps by a score of 3-0. Nothing was going right for the Stars. At one point, Stars netminder, Cristopher Nilstorp had his head ran into the glass by Carl Klingberg yet was given an embellishment call to put the Stars and IceCaps on 4-on-4. Despite everything being thrown at them, Texas was patient and stuck to their game plan until the reigning AHL MVP and scoring champion, Travis Morin scored his 2nd OT game winner in as many games to put the Stars one game away from winning their first Calder Cup title in franchise history.
After having a 4-day layoff between games, the Stars showed that they were the team that did some sight seeing while the IceCaps either rested or practiced or both because they absolutely brought everything they had to the visiting Texas squad. At the end of the first 20 minutes, St. John's had outshot the Stars 21-5 but only held on to a 1-goal to none lead thanks to the play of Nilstorp. Ben Chiarot gave the IceCaps their only goal of the first period shorthanded from Adam Lowry and Patrice Cormier. Both teams went 0-2 on the man advantage.
The 2nd period didn't start any better for the Stars as Klingberg put the IceCaps up by 2 in just 57 seconds. Then Kael Mouillierat scored his 4th goal of the Final near the half way point of the game and it looked like the Stars were just completely out of it. The Stars had been called for the only 2 penalties in the period and the crowd was amped up by some pretty amazing saves by Michael Hutchinson. It can only be assumed that the Stars faithful who were not in attendance at the watch party or made the trip itself quickly switched over to the USA Men's soccer match against Ghana which started at the same time. However, as is the case for anyone who bails out of a hockey game early, it didn't take long to be reminded why hockey is the most exciting sport and regardless of the situation, a team can NEVER lose a game in less than 60 minutes.
With less than 5 minutes remaining in the middle frame, Morin deflected a shot attempt from Brendan Ranford for his 8th goal of the playoffs. One could feel the tide starting to turn which at that time, the Stars had taken the shot lead from the IceCaps in the 2nd period. Just 2 1/2 minutes later, Curtis McKenzie put the Stars within one goal as he hammered home a rebound from Morin and Ranford.
The 3rd period saw the Stars continue their onslaught on their hosts but no matter what they threw at the net, Hutchinson was there to make save after save. It looked as if the Stars were running out of time as they funneled every puck possession toward the net. It appeared as if the Stars had their equalizer as Brett Ritchie got the puck past Hutchinson but after official video review, it was ruled that Michael had gotten the puck pulled back out of the net before fully crossing the line. With regulation time coming to an end, eyes began to creep over to the Stars net to see if Nilstorp would get the call over for the extra attacker. Fortunately, that time never came because with 2:09 remaining in regulation, Ritchie put the puck over Hutchinson's glove emphatically where no video review was required and the Stars had completed the comeback to tie the game.
It didn't take long for Morin to continue his quest for playoff MVP and complete his career in the AHL as a certain jump to the Dallas team is all but guaranteed. Once again, Ranford found himself with the puck as he carried it over into the Cap's zone. He drew a crowd which left Morin wide open in the right faceoff circle in which he one-timed the puck into the upper-right corner of the net as Hutchinson was sliding left to cover the near post.
The victory gives the Stars a 3 games to 1 lead over St. John's and can skate their first Calder Cup tomorrow as they play in game 5 which starts at 5:00 PM, Central time. The official watch party will be held at the Cedar Park Center and for those in the DFW area, StarsInsider.com is working with Scruffy Duffies at the Shops of Legacy for an unofficial watch party for Stars fans in the Metroplex.