Travis Morin scored twice, including in overtime, as the Texas Stars clawed back from a three-goal deficit to rally past the St. John's IceCaps 4-3 on Monday night and take a 3-1 series lead in the American Hockey League's Calder Cup final.
Despite being outplayed through the first period, Stars coach Willie Desjardins said the team was waiting for the chance to get back in the game.
"The guys knew we weren't playing good and knew we had to do better. We knew we had to go hard and hope we caught a break," said Desjardins. "Getting those two goals at the end of the second [period] gave us some life."
Morin sealed the win when he capitalized on a one-time opportunity 2:24 into overtime, burying the puck top corner from the slot with a quick wrist shot.
'We all contributed, it was a complete effort from our whole line. We all know our roles and we all know what to do.' - Stars' Travis Morin on linemates Brendan Ranford and Curtis McKenzie
"It was obviously a big goal," he said. "We had a lot of momentum going after getting that one in the third. It seems like most games we play in overtime this post-season, we get it done as quickly as we can. I was flying up the backside and Brendan Ranford made a great pass. I didn't get all of [the puck]. I really wanted to, but I didn't. It sort of fluttered over his shoulder."
Morin said his line with Ranford and Curtis McKenzie has had chemistry the entire post-season, and continues to produce.
"We all contributed, it was a complete effort from our whole line. We all know our roles and we all know what to do. We're unselfish and not afraid to make a better pass for a better scoring opportunity."
McKenzie and Brett Ritchie also scored for Texas.
Ben Chiarot, Carl Klingberg and Kael Mouillierat scored for St. John's.
Chiarot strikes 1st
Chiarot opened the scoring for the IceCaps while shorthanded when his wrist shot from the point found its way through traffic at the 13:02 mark of the first period.
Klingberg gave the IceCaps a two-goal lead when he finished off a give-and-go with Mouillierat 57 seconds into the second period by carrying the puck to the net on his backhand and burying it high glove.
The IceCaps scored again at the 8:21 mark of the second when Mouillierat hit a one-time slap shot from the top of the right face-off dot on a Will O'Neill pass during a 5-on-3 power play.
Morin ended the drought for Texas when he tapped in a goal five-hole in the slot with 4:27 left in the second period.
The Stars pulled within one through McKenzie, who swatted in a loose puck bouncing around the crease with 1:51 remaining in the second.
With 2:19 left in the third period, Ritchie tied the game for the Stars when he finished off a good spell of puck possession with a quick wrist shot in the slot.
IceCaps goalie Michael Hutchinson made 34 saves while Texas goaltender Cristopher Nilstrop stopped 32 shots.
Morin said the Game 4 win is key in the Stars' ability to close out the series.
"[Winning Monday] was big. It guarantees us having three shots at it. If we need it, two of those shots will be in our building. That's what we worked for all year, to get those opportunities, but we would love to take care of it tomorrow night.
Game 5 is Tuesday in St. John's at 6 p.m. ET. Game 6 and 7, if necessary, will be back in Cedar Park, Tex.