Admirals beat Stars, lead Central Division Finals

Isaac Ratcliffe scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with just 61 seconds to play in regulation, to guide the Milwaukee Admirals to a 4-3 Game 3 win over the Texas Stars Wednesday, May 17.

The win gives the Admirals a 2-1 series advantage with Game 4 set for Friday night.

With the game tied 3-3 late in the third, Ratcliffe deflected a Mark Del Gaizo shot from the left point that got by Texas goalie Matt Murray and put the Admirals ahead 4-3.

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The two goals for Ratcliffe were his first two career postseason tallies, and he was playing in his first contest since Game 3 of the first round against Manitoba.

Luke Evangelista also had a two-point night for Milwaukee, dishing out two assists for his fourth multipoint effort of the playoffs. Joakim Kemell and Egor Afanasyev also lit the lamp for Milwaukee while Yaroslav Askarov stopped 26 shots to earn the victory in net.

For the first time in the series, the Admirals opened the scoring as Ratcliffe picked up his first of the night with 5:30 to go in the opening period. He carried the puck along the far boards into the Texas zone, threw on the breaks at the hashmarks and spun to the top of the circle where he unleashed a wicked wrister that went over the right shoulder of Texas' Murray.

Ben Gleason tied the game at 1-1 for the Stars when he came streaking down the middle of the ice and fired a wrister that beat Askarov at 5:19 of the second period.

It didn’t take long for the Admirals to take the lead back as Joakim Kemell connected on his third of the postseason just 1:23 after Texas tied it. With Milwaukee controlling the puck in the Stars’ zone, Jimmy Huntington collected a puck behind the net and passed to Kemell in the slot where he snuck the puck just inside the post for a 2-1 advantage.

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However, a pair of quick goals at the start of the third for Texas turned the one-goal lead into a one-goal deficit. Dawson Barteaux and Alex Petrovic scored goals for the Stars just 26 seconds apart and put them up 3-2.

The scored stayed that way until 13:26 of the third when Phil Tomasino collected the rebound in the slot and dished over to an open Afanasyev, who hammered home a one-timer to knot the game at 3-3 and set the stage for Ratcliffe’s heroics.

After an off-day on Thursday, the Admirals will look to close out the series in Game 4 Friday night at 7 p.m. from the HEB Center. The Admirals will host a viewing party at Major Goolsbys in downtown Milwaukee.