Depleted by injury and surrounded by some new faces in the locker room, the Texas Stars pulled together as a group tonight to gain two points against West Division opponent, the Oklahoma City Barons. Individual standout performances from Richard Bachman and Ondrej Roman highlighted the night. "It has been tough with guys in and out of the locker room," said Bachman. "We were looking for a strong performance and a good start and Roman really got us going."
Indeed it was Ondrej Roman with all the scoring in the first period. The rookie forward got it going on the power play just before the 7 minute mark. A persistent effort got the goal on the third or fourth hack at the puck on the right side of the net. Eighty-nine seconds later, it was Roman again, this time catching Martin Gerber too far out of his net and manuevering around the Swiss netminder to backhand the puck in easily. Roman deflected praise postgame and pointed to the strong team effort: "We played a good team effort. Obviously our best players are gone so we have to work harder."
With a two goal lead and a rocking Cedar Park Center, the Barons tried to slow down the game with crashing and banging in the second period. "You expect it when you've got the lead at home," said Bachman. "They tried banging our bodies and taking us into the boards to create some turnovers."
The Barons were unsuccessful in their efforts as Bachman continued his strong play against the club on the season. Bachman had 30 saves on the night, including at least two off of his facemask, to shut out OKC. Of the facemask saves, Bachman said: "Stickless, I figured I'd stop it with my head. Probably not the smartest thing to do, but at least my mom didn't see it."
Brandon Segal collected the night's third goal in the third period, an unassisted tally, to wrap up the scoring. Matt Stephenson was named the night's third star as he took his second evening of forward duty. The "forward" had several key blocks and showed great skill in a defensive forward role. He also installed himself in front of Martin Gerber with regularity on the night. Is it possible that Stephenson might find more time in the lineup at wing? Maybe Coach Gulutzan found something great out of all the lineup shuffling.
The Stars are next in action on Tuesday against the always difficult Houston Aeros at the Cedar Park Center.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
McCulloch (lower body)
Gagnon, Morin, Sawada, Wathier, Sceviour (callup)
Tonight's attendance was 5,738.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Oklahoma City - February 5 2011