The building was packed to the gills, and the Texas Stars were ready to impress the hometown fans with a victory over 2nd place Milwaukee. In a hard, grinding game, the Stars defeat the Admirals in the shootout by a score of 2-1. "We're both similar teams with similar systems so it's a battle back and forth all night," said goaltender Richard Bachman, who had 28 saves on 29 shots and earned second star honors.
With the two points earned in the game, Texas gained the right to stay in 6th place. Chicago defeated Grand Rapids this evening to win as well and tie with Texas in points. The Ads slipped past Peoria with the one point from tonight's game to make it to first place by virtue of games played. Between first place Milwaukee and seventh place Chicago, there are now three whole points.
"There are no easy games," said Sceviour. "You play someone who is technically last place in our division and they have a heck of team and play well. This division is going to come down to the last weekend in the season."
Texas opened the scoring in the second period with a great backhand goal by Greg Rallo. The forward's 13th goal of the season came off the rebound from a Sean Backman shot that Rallo buried five hole. Severin Blindenbacher, in his second game since coming back from injury, collected the secondary assist.
The only other regulation scoring came in the third for Milwaukee. The Ads tied up the game with a power play goal, technically. As the Stars' Scott Ford entered the ice from the box, Roman Josi scored from the right wing circle to make it 1-1. The play was a result of a botched D-to-D pass between Larsen and Lukowich. The goal, which beat Bachman high glove side, was assisted by Blum and Klasen.
The tight hard checking game continued throughout. Texas failed to capitalize on five power play opportunities against the bottom 10 ranked Milwaukee PK. Special teams have to get going in tight games because goaltending won't always bail you out. Tonight, Bachman did.
The game ultimately went to the shootout. Colton Sceviour got things started with his "signature move", the forehand to backhand and roof it. "In junior, I think I had 1 goal on 25 attempts. I'll take the good ones while I can." Ray Sawada also scored on a similarly slick move while Bachman stopped 4 of 5 to seal the win at 2-1.
Texas is in action again on Monday for the 3rd of 10 straight divisional games. Time to gain some ground for these Stars, who cannot afford to give up "loser points" as they did twice this week.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
McCulloch, Krahn (lower body)
Tonight's attendance was 6,863, a sellout. The Stars are now 3-1-1-0 in sellout regular season games all-time.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Milwaukee - January 22 2011