The playoffs don't start for another month, but the Texas Stars are already in that mindset. Tonight, they made a big statement and got two points closer to sealing a playoff berth for themselves. "It's a playoff atmosphere [in the room]," said goalie Tyler Beskorowany, who got the win, stopping 29 of 30 shots. "This win just gives us that much more of a boost." The victory against the Houston Aeros, who have given the Stars fits this year, was as important on the standings as it was in the Stars' heads, if not more.
Texas got off to the right start with Maxime Fortunus scoring his 4th of the year on a slapper from the point. The goal, assisted by Brandon Segal and Aaron Gagnon, came at 8:14 of the first.
Just over two minutes later, Texas allowed the only goal against of the night. Coming off a faceoff, two of the highest volume point-getters against the Stars this year combined to tie it at 1. Patrick O'Sullivan assisted Jon DiSalvatore's 18th of the year and 8th goal against Texas.
Despite a 13-5 shot deficit, Texas was tied at the first intermission. It was no problem for Beskorowany: "I've grown accustomed to facing a lot of shots."
On the power play in the second, Brandon Segal collected his 7th goal of the year and second point of the night on a nice goal line tip-in. From there on out, it was about keeping it simple. Texas kept high quality scoring chances to a minimum and stayed out of penalty trouble for the rest of the night, until the last two minutes.
Ray Sawada took a boarding call with under two minutes left in the game, creating a 6-on-4 advantage for Houston. A faceoff win for Texas in their own zone set the break out as Greg Rallo scored his team-leading 21st of the year into the empty net.
The Stars finish the weekend with four of a total of four available points. "It was good to have that day off on Wednesday," said Beskorowany. The Stars will look to continue their luck in their first home day game in history on Monday.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Monast, Stephenson (scratched)
Morin, Krahn, Wathier (lower body)
Tonight's attendance was 6,544.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Houston - March 5 2011