Whether it was the new bodies in the lineup or the Dallas brass watching from on high, something got into the Texas Stars tonight as they pushed through the Houston Aeros for a 3-0 victory at the Cedar Park Center. "It was a great sixty minutes out of us tonight right from the start to finish," said center Aaron Gagnon, who had three assists on the night.
Special teams and solid goaltending were the order of the night with all goals coming from the PP or PK units. Richard Bachman stopped all 20 shots against for his sixth shutout of the year and 24th win. Bachman pointed to the full sixty minute effort as well, "You could tell the difference with us being prepared for the full game tonight."
As the score indicated, it was all Stars throughout. Greg Rallo started the scoring in the first where the Stars outshot Houston 17-8. Rallo scored his 25th of the year from his standard power play spot, the left wing circle, to set the score at 1-0. Gagnon and Spang assisted on the tally.
At the end of the second again, it was Francis Wathier finishing off a tape-to-tape pass from Aaron Gagnon on a 2-on-1 breakaway shorthanded. Wathier's 17th of the year made it 2-0 Texas and was a punch in the gut to the Houston power play, which went 0/4 on the night. The Stars added a third goal in the final period to salt it away. Travis Morin's 18th of the year came on the power play, assisted by Sawada and Gagnon.
While the Stars know that this was a big confidence building game, they've already moved on. "We'll take the two points and look forward to the weekend," said Gagnon. Two games against Grand Rapids this weekend could move Texas further up the West Division standings and further from the melee developing for the last few spots.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Gazdic, Larsen (undisclosed injury)
Vincour, Segal, Lukowich (callup)
Brenden Dillon played his first game tonight, taking 4 minutes of penalties and recording no shots in the game. Mike Embach played his first home game as well. "It's good to have new energy around," said Bachman, who played with Embach on the USHL's Chicago Steel in 2006-07.
Tonight's attendance was 6,863.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Houston - March 22 2011