Cedar Park, TX—In the fifth longest game in Admirals history, Texas forward Oskar Back scored the game-winner goal at the 15:10 mark of double-overtime as they defeated the Ads 4-3 in game four of the Central Division Finals.
The loss for Milwaukee sets up a winner-take-all game five on Sunday night at 7 pm. It will be the second straight series that the Ads have needed five games after dispatching Manitoba in the first round.
The total length of tonight’s contest was 95:10, which was the fifth longest in team history and the second longest in team AHL history.
The Admirals got an early lead when Michael McCarron scored his first of the post-season 6:13 into the game. The play started when McCarron sent a long stretch-pass from the Ads zone to Austin Rueschhoff at the far blueline. Rueshhoff carried the puck into the Stars zone, threw on the brakes at the face-off dot and left a drop pass for a streaking McCarron and he sent a laser over the shoulder of Texas goalie Matt Murray.
Less than two minutes later Luke Evangelista made it 2-0 when Isaac Ratcliffe sprung him on a breakaway and he converted is fourth goal and team-best 10 points in the playoffs.
The Stars halved the Admirals lead when Alex Petrovic corralled a long rebound and sent a snap shot over the shoulder of Ads netminder Yaroslav Aksarov with 3:30 to play in the first.
The score stayed that way until the Stars picked up goals just 24 seconds apart to grab a 3-2 advantage. Their first tally came via the power-play when Mavrik Bourque found Curtis McKenzie backdoor at 18:33 and shortly thereafter Nick Caamano picked up his third of the playoffs to give Texas their first lead of the game.
However, the Admirals battled back and knotted the score at three courtesy of Ruschhoff’s third playoff tally with 6:47 to go in the game. After winning an offensive zone face-off, the Ads worked the puck around before John Leonard took a shot that was stopped by Murray, but Rueschhoff was on the door stop to knock it home and tie the game.
There was no scoring in the first overtime as the Stars outshot the Admirals 11-6.
Back’s goal came as the Stars gained the zone and he came in on the far side of the ice, took a pass from Marian Studenic and fired a wrister from the top of the circle for the game-winner.