Graham scores in OT as Stars cut Bulldogs’ lead in AHL West final to 2-1

CEDAR PARK, Texas – Ethan Graham scored 2:13 into overtime as the Texas Stars beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 5-4 in American Hockey League playoff action Wednesday.

Graham ended a Bulldogs comeback bid when he he rifled a shot past the blocker of Curtis Sanford.

Hamilton leads the best-of-seven Western Conference final 2-1. Game 4 is Friday in Cedar Park.

Perttu Lindgren, Jamie Benn, Aaron Gagnon and Warren Peters also scored for Texas, while Andrew Hutchinson added three assists.

Ryan White, Mike Glumac, Brock Trotter and Ryan Russell replied for Hamilton.

Matt Climie made 31 saves for Texas, while Sanford stopped 29 shots for Hamilton.

White opened the scoring for Hamilton 4:44 into the first period whe he flipped the puck over Climie and into the top of the net.

Lindgren replied on a power play at 10:23. Sanford stopped Garrett Stafford’s shot but lost sight of the puck/ Lindgren scooped it up and fired a shot that rung off the crossbar before banking off the arm of Sanford and into the net.

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Benn and Gagnon scored power-play goals in the second to put Texas up 3-1.

Benn grabbed the rebound of Lindgren’s shot and shovelled it underneath the pads of Sanford, while Gagnon pounced off a rebound from a Francis Wathier shot.

Glumac got one back for Hamilton before the period ended when he blasted a one-time shot that sailed over the right shoulder of Climie.

The Bulldogs tied the game 3-3 at 7:39 of the third period while on a power play. David Desharnais dished a pass to Trotter, who released a one-time shot that bounced off the arm of Climie and into the net.

Peters gave the Stars a 4-3 lead at 15:01 of the third. After Sanford was knocked over in the net, Peters grabbed the puck and flicked it over top of the prone goaltender.

With time running out on the Bulldogs, Russell scored a power-play goal at 18:27 to send the game to overtime when he batted the puck past Climie and into the net.