Cristopher Nilstorp backstopped the Texas Stars to a 2-1 win over the Oklahoma City Barons in Game 2 of their Western Conference Semifinals series in Cedar Park, Texas. Nilstorp made 27 saves in the win, his fourth of the Calder Cup playoffs.
Yann Danis turned aside 37 shots for OKC in the loss.
The first period started with a feverish pace as both teams looked to establish the physical advantage. Big hits and speed were the story for the first 18 minutes as both teams killed off a power play chance.
Texas opened the scoring at 17:52 as Justin Dowling worked the forecheck to create a turnover and passed the puck to Jamie Oleksiak. Oleksiak from the right point shot the puck and Mike Hedden tipped the puck from in front and past Danis to make it a 1-0 Texas lead. An interference penalty by Travis Morin and another by Maxime Fortunus gave the Barons a 64-second two-man advantage to close out the period, with the Stars holding a 10-9 advantage in shots.
After the Stars killed off the remainder of the penalties, Toby Petersen found his way to the box for tripping Anton Lander. During the power play, Taylor Fedun was the recipient of a boarding call by Scott Glennie and Josh Green came in with the gloves off to stand up for his teammate. After the gathering broke up, the Barons stayed on the power play as both Glennie and Green received two-minute minors.
The Barons killed off a delay of game penalty but a too many men penalty by Oklahoma City allowed the Stars to take a 2-0 lead. As the puck cycled around the perimeter, it found Joe Morrow at the left point, and he fired it past a screened Danis, top-shelf at 17:12. After two periods of play, the Stars held a 25-20 edge in shots.
Nilstorp stayed hot in net through the third period, turning aside chances by Arcobello, Fedun, and Arcobello again. The Barons killed off a Hartikainen penalty at 12:34, and the Barons kept fighting. Head coach Todd Nelson pulled Danis in favor of an extra attacker with over two minutes to go and the Barons cashed in.
Mark Arcobello received a backhand pass from Josh Green and fired it home to break the shutout at 18:05. With the extra attacker in the final minute, the Barons had a chance, but Jonathan Cheechoo was whistled for interference with six seconds left to end the Barons push, giving Texas the 2-1 win.
The Barons went 0-for-4 on the power play, while going 4-for-5 on the PK.
Both teams head to Oklahoma City on Monday for Game 3 in the Cox Convention Center, puck drops at 7 p.m.