Earlier in the week, it was the Stars that sent a game to OT with a last minute goal, and eventually winning it in the extra period.
Tonight, it was the Admirals with that storyline. Gabriel Bourque tied it with 4.4 seconds left in the third period, and Ryan Thang fired a laser into the top left corner of the net with 3:31 left in the overtime period.
“That was a good hockey game by both teams, really,” Coach Lambert said after the game. “Obviously, both teams could have won the game and we managed to turn the tables on them a little bit with some late game heroics and get that one back. The ‘wow’ for me wasn’t so much the result, it was more the game itself. That was one of the best hockey games I’ve seen in a long long time.”
Those two shots by Bourque and Thang spoiled a magnificent performance by Stars goaltender Richard Bachman, who stopped 36 of 38 Milwaukee shots, with many of them quality scoring chances.
Jeremy Smith was no slouch either, as he stopped 40 of 41 shots on the night — a career high in saves. The only one that got by him was a power play goal midway through the first period. A shot went off of Philip Larsen, off Roman Josi, and bounced right to Raymond Sawada in front of the net. He finished the play, and has been arguably the best skater for the Stars this season.
Here’s Coach on Smitty.
“I thought he played good, I thought he made a number of terrific saves to keep the score at 1-0, and allow us an opportunity to come back, and that’s what he did — he gave us a chance to come back.”
Gabriel Bourque scored his fifth of the playoffs with just 4.4 seconds left in the game. Positioned in front of the crease, he received an end zone feed from Chris Mueller, kicked it to his forehand, and then lifted it over Bachman.
“He did that in game one too, on the goal he scored late in the second period,” Coach reminded us. “He’s got quick hands quick feet and good skills, and he showed that on that last goal.”
On their way to the locker rooms (the teams don’t have an exit from their benches….the Stars leave through the corner, and the visitors from directly behind the net on that end), Kelsey Wilson and Brenden Dillon collected fighting majors, and there was mutual pushing and shoving along the boards, as both teams were on the ice. Captains of both teams were in there pulling their guys away from the scrum, but it was only Wilson and Dillon that collected penalties.
In the OT period, the teams alternated stretches of some pretty good momentum, but about midway through the period, the ice seemed to be tilted towards Bachman.
Ryan Thang led a 3-on-2 rush, and the defender gave him the open lane to shoot. So he did. It was a slapper from the top of the near face-off circle, and it beat Bachman over his right shoulder.
“I’ve been trying to look for passes most of the series, and tonight I showed up to the rink (saying) I’m going to be a shooter,” Thang said after the game. “Bachman is obviously a great goalie and he’s been seeing a lot of shots, stopping a lot of shots and making some great saves. Tonight I was pulling the trigger even if guys were in the lane, hoping to get some through. Obviously, Van Guilder made a great play, it was a 3-on-2 rush. The D kind of stayed with Van Guilder and it cleared up the lane for me. Coach has been stressing all week that if you’ve got a lane, you got to shoot the puck. I was fortune to get one past Bachman — it doesn’t happen very often.”
NOTES AND Q’S
Wilson – Bartlett – Thuresson
Conacher – Van Guilder – Thang
Bourque – Mueller – Beck
Flynn – Latta – Begin
Santorelli, Hunter, and Ryan were scratched.
The Stars were 1-4 on the power play, the Admirals were 0-4.
Wilson looked pretty good, and certainly agitated the Stars over the course of the game.
Thuresson got his first shots on goal for the series. But his highlight of the game was checking Mathieu Tousignant over and into the Admirals bench. Earlier in the game, Tousignant put a huge check/charge on/into Scott Ford that went uncalled, so it was nice justice.
Bourque said after the game that it was the most important goal he’s ever scored.
Smitty has been playing great. If Dex gets healthy, is he automatically the #1 guy again, or do you dance with the guy that brought you here?
Is Bourque punching his ticket to Nashville for next season?
How loud did it get at Goolsby’s when Bourque scored?
So the Admirals will return home with a 3 games to 2 lead in the series. What do the Admirals need to do to finish off this Stars team on Monday?