Stars Capture Calder Cup with Third Straight OT Victory

Derek Leung

Patrik Nemeth scored 14:30 into overtime in game 5, winning the Calder Cup Finals 4 games to 1. It was yet another game of momentum shifts, although it might have been the most evenly played game of the series. Texas led 2-0 through the midpoint of the second period, before St. John's scored three unanswered goals. Texas brought the game even with a big deflection from the middle slot, with 6:34 in regulation time, and then won it on Nemeth's OT goal.


The first period was evenly played, with some good scoring chances for both teams. The Stars struck first, using their deadly transition game, with Brett Ritchie setting up Mike Hedden for a break up the right wing.

Ritchie added another goal early in the second period. However, the IceCaps once again showed their resiliency, and stormed back with some scoring chances of their own.Jordan Hill and Josh Lunden scored second period goals to tie the game. They continued to create chances in the third, with Blair Riley scoring a nice go-ahead goal early in the period.

However, with a 3-2 lead in the third period, the IceCaps suffered a setback. Texas' Justin Dowling had the puck deep in the corner of the IceCaps' zone. He didn't seem to have any play, but Mike Hedden of the Stars was skating hard through the high slot. Dowling fired a hard pass to Hedden, but the puck bounced off Hedden's glove. The puck took a wild bounce towards the St. John's net, shoulder high, eluding Michael Hutchinson on his glove side.

Both teams had scoring chances in the overtime period. Once again, Texas scored on a transition play, as Patrik Nemeth grabbed the puck in his own end, and raced up the right wing. He made a nice inside-out move to gain space, and lifted a backhand shot that beat Michael Hutchinson for the series winner.

Some Thoughts

  • Carl Klingberg had another strong game for the IceCaps. If he could play with that same confidence in the Jets training camp next year, he might get a longer look in the NHL. He's using speed to make rushes, and he isn't afraid to crash the net.
  • Zach Redmond also looks very confident, and played very effectively.
  • After stealing game two, Hutchinson had shown flashes of that same brilliance in games 3 to 5, but was unable to carry that high level of play through the entire games at St. John's. He didn't play poorly. In fact, he made many great saves. He just couldn't quite stonewall the Stars like he did in game two of the series.
  • The Stars' transition attack was the secret to their overall success this series. Time and time again, they found a way to race back up the ice after gaining the puck in their own zone. All too often for the IceCaps, it ended with a clever play off the rush, and a goal for the Stars.
  • Adam Lowry played another strong game for the IceCaps. He seemed to improve with each game in the finals.
  • The IceCaps delivered some crushing hits on the Stars in game five. I wonder how the series might have gone if they had been able to play that way starting in game one of the series. Looking back, it seemed like the IceCaps gained energy as the series went on, despite a few low points along the way.
  • With a few good bounces and longer whistles, it could just as easily have been the IceCaps that won three games in overtime on the Rock - but it was not to be.
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