Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bachman leads Texas to 3-1 win over Syracuse

Texas took care of business for the second straight night behind the solid play of goalie Richard Bachman and an opportunistic power play.

Bachman got the start in net for the Stars for the second straight night. He came into the game with just over four straight periods of shutout hockey (87:16). The Stars had to kill an early power play chance for the Crunch on Sawada's holding minor.

The Crunch's enforcer, Jon Mirasty, squared off with Luke Gazdic at 7:21 of the first after Mirasty's hit on Stephenson. Throughout the entire fight, Mirasty laughed and smiled maniacally. It was a very strange sight to see, indeed.

Throughout the first, the Stars got their chances. Mathieu Beaudoin and Francis Wathier both had strong plays in the period on net. Texas was outshot in the first 9 to 7.

The Stars came out shooting in the second period, racking up six shots in the first four minutes of the period. The Stars had chances on the power play but weren't able to convert early.

Mathieu Beaudoin broke the scoreless tie on the power play 13 minutes in to the period. A shot from the right point by Garrett Stafford gave Beaudoin a great rebound chance which he roofed to make it 1-0.

To close the period, Matt Stephenson and Picard squared off after a hit by Stephenson. Picard took an instigator penalty on the play as well and the requisite ten minute misconduct that goes with it. Picard also took a game misconduct for abuse of officials for arguing the call.

The Crunch evened up the game in the third period after a series of deft passes in the zone, much like a power play. Liffiton was the eventual goal scorer from the left point, ending Bachman's 134:58 of shutout time. The pace of the game picked up notably after the goal, with Bachman making a series of key saves to keep the game even, including a sassy glove grab less than 30 seconds after the goal.

With 9 minutes left, Aaron Gagnon split the defense coming in from the neutral zone and won a footrace to the crease and managed to whack the puck up over Lalande. The biscuit snuck in under the crossbar for a 2-1 Texas lead.

The Crunch would pull Lalande with over a minute left and Greg Rallo would make good on the empty net. After blocking a pass in the Texas zone, Rallo skated out to the opposing blue line and shot it into the vacated goal.

The Stars did what they needed to do tonight in the second game of a back-to-back. They did not allow the early goals that so often killed them this season. They scored on the power play, another key ingredient to Stars wins. And when a goal was scored, they responded quickly, in under three minutes in face.

I think it's possible that the Stars have found something of a gem in Richard Bachman. It is entirely possible that we will be seeing more of him as things move forward. How this works with Todd Ford's PTO and eventually Krahn's return is still a matter to be decided, but it is clear Bachman is ready for the AHL game as he is now the owner of a 3-1 record with a 1.25 GAA and a 0.948 save percentage. Can you say goalie controversy?

Stars are back in action on Friday against the Marlies in Toronto.

Tonight's lines:
McCulloch-Gagnon-Rallo
Wathier-Peters-Sawada
Lindgren-Morin-Beaudoin
Gazdic-Tousignant-Sceviour

Fortunus-Hutchinson
Stafford-Ludwig
Jancevski-Stephenson

Bachman

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Wilson and Krahn (injured)
Climie (day-to-day "strep-type" infection)
Korostin and Shelast (scratched)

For those who were wondering during our live Tweeting of the game, the Syracuse Crunch logo portrays an ice gorilla. Seriously.

Tonight's attendance was 4,387.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Syracuse - February 17 2010

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