The Texas Stars made a dominate effort and put on a clinic for 60 minutes this afternoon in Cedar Park against the Oklahoma City Barons. The Stars scored early and often, getting what would eventually be the game-winning goal just 67 seconds into the match.
"They played phenomenally," said Coach Pyle. "They played hard for 60 minutes and didn't change their game."
Richard Bachman picked up his first shutout of the season in his first attempt, stopping all 21 shots he faced. Rookies Matt Fraser and Brenden Dillon each picked up three points in the game.
The first Stars goal came off the stick of Maxime Fortunus, who blasted it from the right wing point for a 1-0 lead at the 1:07 mark. Texas followed that up with several power play goals as the Barons made a conga line to the sin bin. At one point, the Barons had three different players in the box with minors, giving Texas an extended 5-on-3. They took advantage.
Matt Fraser popped in his first professional goal from the right wing side low to make it 2-0, and Jordie Benn collected an unassisted tally on the power play just 15 seconds later for the 3-0 lead.
"You always think about that first one as a forward and it's nice to get it out of the way," said Fraser after the game. Fraser would add another goal in the seconds period to make it 4-0 and chase starter Yann Danis from the net. David LeNeveu would take over.
The Stars were relentless on the forecheck throughout the game, getting OKC to turnover the puck constantly. At one point in the first period, the shots on goal sat at a 15-1 advantage for Texas. "We've got a pretty quick team and if we feel like we can get in on the forecheck and make plays before their defenseman get to the puck, we like our chances," added Fraser.
Bachman, despite not seeing a lot of shots in the first, played well when called upon in the second and third, as the Barons saw some power play time. "Bachman played great in net as well, making saves when we needed them," said Pyle.
Texas poured on a few more in the latter half of the game with Dan Spang and Luke Gazdic picking up power play goals and Tyler Arnason collecting an even-strength tally. Stephen Schultz picked up his first professional point on the play. In all, twelve skaters had points on the night. Dillon ended the night at plus-3 while Fortunus and Wathier came in just behind at plus-2.
Texas now looks ahead to Houston coming to town on Friday. Despite the score, Coach Pyle still feels like there are things to work on, "You can't break your arms patting each other on the back. I still have a lot of work to do, but it's a good group to do that work with. It's just good to be a part of it."
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Tousignant (lower body)
Luke Gazdic played well tonight, collecting a goal but also getting goaded into a fight. "I think he got forced into the fight," said Coach Pyle. "He wears his heart on his sleeve and has a lot of passion for the game."
Tonight's attendance was 6,295.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Oklahoma City - October 9 2011