Christina Shapiro / Texas Stars / Flickr
Christina Shapiro / Texas Stars / Flickr

CEDAR PARK, Texas – The Texas Stars offense erupted for five goals, including two on the power play, in a crucial 5-1 win over the San Diego Gulls in Game 2 to even up their Pacific Division Semifinal series in front of 5,623 fans at H-E-B Center at Cedar Park on Saturday night.

Jack Campbell stopped 25 of 26 shots to keep the San Diego offense at bay. Esa Lindell, Justin Dowling, Curtis McKenzie and Brendan Ranford all tallied multi-point games for the Stars (1-1). Nik Ritchie was the lone goal-scorer for the Gulls (1-1). The best-of-five series is tied 1-1 as the series shifts to Southern California.

Game 3 is set for Thursday at 9:05 p.m. CST at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego.

The Stars took their first lead of the series 3:53 into the first period when Dowling flipped a backhand pass to Derek Hulak in the slot for his first of the postseason. San Diego’s Nick Ritchie knotted things up midway through the period, and the teams entered the break tied at 1-1.

In the second, Nick Ritchie visited the box for a second time, and six seconds later Brandon Montour joined him after a delay of game penalty creating a two-man advantage for the Stars. Brett Ritchie sent a pass from the left circle to set up Lindell for the one-time blast to provide Texas a 2-1 lead at 2:30 of the period. With 56 seconds left in the period, Mattias Backman and Ranford generated a touch-passing play between both faceoff circles to set up Matt Mangene on the doorstep for a second Texas power play goal and a two-goal lead after two.

The Stars struck again at 5:02 of the third when McKenzie redirected Lindell’s shot in front. At 13:36, Dowling finished off a McKeznie centering feed from the left side of the net for his second goal of the playoffs to cap off the scoring.

Anton Khudobin made 37 saves in the loss. The Stars outshot the Gulls 42-26.

Texas was 2-for-8 on the power play, while San Diego finished 0-for-5.

The Texas Stars are the primary development affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars and currently in their seventh season at H-E-B Center at Cedar Park. Full season, 24-game and 12-game ticket packages for the 2016-17 campaign are on sale now.  For more information, call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit TexasStars.com.