Brendan Ranford scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Texas Stars defeated the Oklahoma City Barons 3-2 and took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five quarterfinal series of the Calder Cup Playoffs Saturday night at the Cox Convention Center.
This season's AHL MVP Jeremy Morin scored the first two goals for Texas, both tying the game in the final minute of a period.
Richard Bachman made 36 saves in net for the Barons, while Texas goalie Jack Campbell stopped 38 shots.
Despite being outshot 11-6 in the first period, Oklahoma City tallied the game's first goal early in frame. After a series of shots on Bachman, Oklahoma City captain Anton Lander corralled a rebound in the OKC zone and sent a long outlet pass that split two Stars defenders and gave Roman Horak a breakaway opportunity he took advantage of by depositing a forehand shot over the stick of Campbell at 5:40 of the first period.
Though the Barons managed to keep the Western Conference's best scoring team of the regular season out of the net for much of the first two periods, Texas eventually tied the game in the final minute of the second. After a cross-checking penalty was assessed to Barons defenseman Darnell Nurse at 19:40 of the period, Morin netted the game-tying goal off the ensuing faceoff at 19:42.
Jujhar Khaira gave the Barons a 2-1 lead in the third, when he took a Travis Ewanyk pass near the right side of the Texas net and flipped a backhand shot that deflected off Campbell's shoulder and into the net at 11:57 of the period.
But again it was Morin who brought the Stars back to even later in the third. After Campbell had been pulled in favor of an extra skater with less than a minute remaining, Morin took a Justin Dowling pass through the Barons crease and chipped it into the vacant side of the net at 19:20.
After an icing call late in the overtime period led to a faceoff in the Barons zone, Ranford tallied the game-winner, pushing a wraparound shot just inside the leg of Bachman at 15:04.
The series resumes at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Cedar Park, Texas.