Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Texas cruises past San Antonio 3-1 on 3rd period effort

The Stars closed up the record books on their neighbors to the south with a triumphant victory. The Rampage already had been eliminated from playoff contention coming into the game with Milwaukee's win over Peoria this afternoon. Texas finishes the series with San Antonio with a record of 8-4-0-0. San Antonio's record in the series was 4-6-2-0.

One of the real stories of the night was the shots on goal count. Starting goaltender Brent Krahn saw 17 shots in the first period alone and stopped every single one of them. Sergei Korostin gave him some offensive support at the 4:30 mark on a nifty play by his linemates. Francis Wathier blindly passed the puck in front of the net to Travis Morin who passed it over the Korostin on the backdoor for the goal. It was his 13th of the year.

Coming out of the first intermission, it was Richard Bachman, the callup from Idaho of the ECHL, between the pipes for Texas. Play-by-play man Josh Fisher indicated that it was likely not an injury issue. I am inclined to agree. I think Brent Krahn faced 17 shots in the first period alone and he's the guy you want to be fresh for the playoffs. Also, it serves the purpose of getting Bachman a look at the end of the season when things are decided much like the look Matt Climie is getting in Dallas tonight.

Bachman allowed the first goal of the night 3:32 into the period when Jeff Hoggan snapped a nasty wristshot past him from the right-wing circle. Texas seemingly got caught too deep, and the Rampage had a 3-on-2.

With San Antonio already out of the playoffs, you had to know we'd see some unpleasantries in the evening's game. Francis Lessard and Luke Gazdic battled in the first period, but the real nastiness came in the second. David Spina "interfered" with Perttu Lindgren in the form of a shot to the head. Lindgren lost his lid and immediately went down to the ice, bleeding all over the sheet. Initially Spina got two for interference but it was upgraded to a five minute major and a game misconduct. The league will also surely have a look at the hit. Lindgren did not return to the game after the hit.

Texas could not score on the extended opportunity. There was also some nastiness at the end of the second when Trevor Ludwig had had it with Jeff Hoggan hanging out in his crease and it came to blows. Already on the penalty kill, Trevor said get out of my house in the form of a knuckle sandwich. It was a spirited bout.

The Stars brought down the house in the 3rd though. Midway through the period, Matt Stephenson's point shot found Colton Sceviour in the crease but bounced away. It hit Shaun Heshka's skate and went right back into the net for a 2-1 lead. Three minutes later, Francis Wathier was the benefactor of a steal by Matt Stephenson and snapped a wrister past Tordjamn for his second point of the night and 19th goal of the season.

Texas was outshot in the game 45-25 including 38-15 in the first two periods combined. The 45 shots in the game sets a new Stars record for shots against. Richard Bachman earned that third star tonight. I'm not sure if I would have made the same selections as the crew upstairs though. If you look at the boxscore, you'll notice something curious. Matt Stephenson had 2 points and was plus-3 on the night, being on the ice for every Texas goal. For Stephenson, who now has a grand total of five points on the year, all assists, and is minus-13 total, this was a freakin' huge game. I think my three stars would have been Wathier, Bachman, and Stephenson, in that order.

On a side note, Texas was quite penalty prone this evening. They gave the Rampage seven opportunities and did not allow a power play goal on the night. Texas itself was 0/3 on the power play, including the five minute major.

Tonight's lines:
Sceviour-Gagnon-Tousignant
Wathier-Morin-Korostin
Wilson-Lindgren-Chupp
Gazdic-DeVergilio-Neal

Jancevski-Stephenson
Fortunus-Graham
Tr. Ludwig-Ty. Ludwig

Krahn
Bachman

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Rallo, Sawada, Peters and McCulloch (injured)
Beaudoin, Stafford, Hutchinson, and Shelast (scratched)
Benn, Climie (call-up)

A lot of players got "injury" scratches tonight with Texas already guaranteed a playoff spot and home ice advantage. Texas only dressed six defensemen for the first time in a few weeks. Tyler and Trevor Ludwig played as a D pair tonight. They had been paired together in previous games at times.

Landon Wilson returned to the lineup tonight and also accepted the award as team nominee for AHL Man of the Year in a pregame ceremony. The ultimate winner of the award was in net for the Rampage tonight, Josh Tordjman.

Tonight's attendance was 4,432.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - April 6 2010

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