Saturday, October 2, 2010

Barons Win The Special Teams Battle, Defeat Texas 4-2

The Stars opened their preseason home schedule with a loss to the fledgling Oklahoma City Barons. The Barons bested the Stars on their home ice and a lot of it was due to special teams. Let's get into the play-by-play.

Texas had a total of four power play opportunities in the first period, but they could not make any of them count. The Barons had two and made one of them hurt for the Stars. With Sean Backman in the box, a bit of a scrum in front left Dave Bonk all alone with the puck in the crease. Tyler Beskorowany had already committed to the initial shot from Vladimir Nikiforov and was sprawled out on the left side of the net. Bonk simply took care of the garbage collection for the 1-0 lead.

The second period was a turn of fortune for the Stars. The Stars outshot the Barons 15-3 in the period and that keyed up their offense. Tousignant scored first for Texas coming down the right side on a two-on-one. He took it himself with a nice wrister and made it 1-1. The lone scrap in the game was between Hartikainen and Tassone with four minutes left in the second period, but neither received fighting majors.

Stars captain for the evening, Francis Wathier, gave the Stars the lead in the waning seconds of the middle frame. With seconds ticking away, Wathier received a beautiful pass through a Barons defender from Colton Sceviour. With a deft forehand to backhand move, Wathier made it 2-1 with 7.2 seconds remaining in the period.

Texas saw their lead disappear early in the third though as, on the power play again, the Barons scored on a shot from the high slot by Egener. The Barons scored again on the PP to make it 4-2. It was another puck sent in on a wrister that just floated into the net. Coach Gulutzan felt that the Barons brought out a lot of physicality in the third that ended up making the difference in the game overall. Shots in the third were 11-6 for the Barons.

Overall, the story of the night was the special teams. Texas was 3 for 6 on the penalty kill tonight but certainly missing some of their more stalwart pieces such as Fortunus, Morin, Lukowich and Rallo. Gulutzan doesn't put heavy stock in the performance of the penalty kill tonight but he says, "we'll look at the video, we'll look at this team, and we'll make some improvements for tomorrow." In addition to the PK performance, the Stars were 0/6 on the PP. Tomorrow's game against Houston will likely not feature a similar lineup as tonight, with up to 10 new players who did not play tonight in the lineup for Texas.

Tonight's lines:
Wathier-Roman-Sceviour
McCulloch-Tousignant-Sawada
Chupp-Neal-Tassone
Backman-Sinisalo-King

Stephenson-Spang
Benn-Ty. Ludwig
Tr. Ludwig-Monast

Beskorowany
Bachman

No gamesheet for preseason.

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