TEXAS STARS

Stars blank Roadrunners to take 3-1 series lead in Pacific Division Finals

Texas hosts Tucson in Game 5 on Friday night

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Goals from Curtis McKenzie and defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk gave the Stars a 2-0 win over the Tucson Roadrunners at home Wednesday night to give Texas a 3-1 lead in the Pacific Division Finals.

McKenzie cracked the scoring open with a power-play goal in the second period, and Bodnarchuk followed it up later in the frame on a goal of his own. 

"We're getting contributions all over the ice," Texas head coach Derek Laxdal said. "To win in the playoffs, you've got to get contributions from all over the lineup and we're starting to get that consistently."

Stars goalie Mike McKenna saved all 27 shots he saw for his second shutout of the postseason in the victory.

Brian Flynn picked up two assists to give him a league-leading 10 points in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs. 

It took just 75 seconds for Tucson forward Michael Bunting to find open ice and get a breakaway opportunity in the offensive zone, but  McKenna answered with his left leg pad.

Following an already chippy Game 3 on Monday night, checking was even more aggressive and spacing out on the ice was significantly tighter. 

"It was your typical playoff game, it was tight out there," Laxdal said. "They're probably the fastest team we've seen this year, so we're just trying to keep up with them. I thought our guys managed it well, and for us, it's good to get that second win at home, and now we have to focus on Friday."

The scoring was opened seven seconds into a Stars power play midway through the second period as Justin Dowling fed a wide open McKenzie in the slot for the first goal. McKenzie led the Stars with 14 markers on the man-advantage in the regular season, good enough for second in the AHL.

With under five minutes to go second, Bodnarchuk doubled the lead with his first goal of the postseason. Former Dallas Stars first-round NHL Draft pick Denis Gurianov wristed a puck on net from the offensive zone blue line and a stretching Bodnarchuk chopped it through the legs of Hill for the tally.

"It's always nice to chip in on the offensive side of things," Bodnarchuk said. "I was open weak-side off the break...the rebound skipped right out as it got past their defensemen, and I was able to get a stick on it and get it through Hill."

The Stars attempt to close out the series at home against the Roadrunners on Friday at 7 p.m. with Game 6 and Game 7 shifting back to Arizona if necessary. 

"Nothing can change," Bodnarchuk said. "You've got a team that's got their backs against the walls, they're gonna come with their best effort. It's going to be the toughest game of the year for us, so we've got to come ready to play."

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