What are the chances that both the Stanley Cup and the Calder Cup are awarded on game-winning overtime goals in a Game 5?
Because that’s what happened this season.
The Texas Stars (Dallas Stars affiliate) claimed their first Calder Cup in franchise history with a 4-3 Game 5 OT victory against the St. John’s IceCaps (Winnipeg Jets affiliate) thanks to Patrik Nemeth’s perfectly placed backhand goal at 14:30 of the first overtime.
“It didn’t feel like a 4-1 series to us at all,” IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge told the Winnipeg Sun after the game. “This one is going to sting. This one is going to hurt for a long time. These are tough to reflect back on. You work so hard and your goal obviously is to win it all. To come up short when you can see the Cup is within your grasp is definitely a tough pill to swallow.”
The Stars were the best team in the AHL during the regular season, with 106 points. They were a perfect 6-0 in playoff overtimes, including three OT victories in the Calder Cup Final … you know, just like the Los Angeles Kings did in winning the Stanley Cup.
(Cue spooky music.)
Here’s the OT Cup winning goal and all the postgame fanfare for the Texas Stars:
It wasn’t a surprise that Texas, the regular-season champion, hoisted the cup. But Nemeth showed off some unexpected offensive touch. The stay-at-home defenseman had just four goals before the biggest of his career.
“I thought it was (Travis) Morin; when he went to the backhand like that, I thought it had to be Morin since I knew he was on the ice, too,” Stars coach Willie Desjardins said. “That’s such a good move I didn’t even think it could be him at first.”
Morin actually got the assist on the goal and was awarded the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. Morin finished the playoffs with a league-leading 22 points and scored or had an assist on each of the winning goals in the finals.
Morin, who has been with the Texas Stars since 2009, became the first player since 2008 to win both regular season and postseason MVP awards in the AHL.
Pretty good week for Nemeth, by the way, as he scores the Cup-winning goal and the Dallas Stars clear out Aaron Rome with a buyout, ostensibly to give Nemeth a roster spot next season. He played eight games for Dallas this season.
Congratulations to the Texas Stars on the Calder Cup win. It’s nice to remember that Texas can in fact win a championship that doesn’t involve Tim Duncan and when Tony Romo isn’t around to screw it up.
You’re now free to take that Canucks job, Mr. Desjardins …