If you were able to watch or listen to tonight's game, consider yourself lucky. This was likely one of the most complete games the Texas Stars have ever put together. The Stars matched their record for goals for at 6 and smothered Rockford's offense, allowing only 1 goal in the game and not until the third period. Texas has still never trailed in the series. With a 3-0 series lead, the Stars hope to close out the series on Friday and wait for the winner of the Chicago/Milwaukee series to be decided.
The first period was mostly quiet with both teams getting their chances until a power play at the end of the period. Just 4 seconds into the man advantage and with only 25 seconds left in the period, Jamie Benn won a faceoff back to Andrew HUtchinson at the left point who snapped it over to Garrett Stafford. Stafford buried the shot stick-side high on Crawford.
Just 86 seconds into the second, Texas did it again. Jamie Benn skated in on the left wing side and used the Rockford defenseman as a screen to beat Crawford low on the stick-side. Just a few minutes later, Texas successfully defended a 5-on-3 opportunity for the IceHogs, and any energy that Rockford and the MetroCentre had was gone. The last best chance in the period for Rockford was a two-on-one that Brent Krahn got over for and took the puck to the chest.
Texas scored three more times in the second period, first off the stick of Landon Wilson. A one timer from the captain on the pass from Travis Morin put the Stars up 3-0. The assist for Morin was his 4th point of the series. Greg Rallo scored on the power play exactly 3 minutes later on a weird rebound play off a faceoff that beat Crawford five hole. Benn and Gagnon assisted on the tally. Finally to round out the period, Jamie Benn did it again. His 2nd goal of the evening and 4th point of the night came when he collected his own rebound, pulled it away from Crawford and roofed it over the prone goalie. Crawford looked like a man defeated.
Hannu Toivonen came out to start the third period. Texas would surrender one goal in the third, a goal by rookie Ben Smith. The Stars would add another by Mathieu Beaudoin in the period to bring the score to 6-1. Perttu Lindgren gets a lot of credit for Beaudoin's tally, as he skated all the way down behind the Rockford net and passed it through traffic to the waiting stick of Beaudoin in the slot for the one-timer. Travis Morin got the 2nd assist for his 5th point of the series.
Jamie Benn had a night and got the first star honors with 2 goals and 2 assists. He now leads all Stars scorers in points. Brent Krahn continues his solid play and keeps his goals against average at 1.00, a great number any time of the year. Texas could close out the series on Friday and sweep their first playoff series ever. Here's hoping Friday is handshake night.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Korostin, Shelast, Ty. Ludwig, Graham, Chupp, Gazdic (scratched)
Mathieu Beaudoin returned to the lineup after being out since March 18th. He scored a goal in his return this evening.
Tonight's attendance was 3,232.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Rockford - April 21 2010