Texas got their W tonight over the Rochester Americans but not without a little bit of a scare. After allowing two goals on the first three shots of the evening, Texas roared back and scored six unanswered tallies including two shorthanded goals. Jimmy Spratt collected his first AHL win in his first AHL start this evening, stopping 14 of 16 shots against. "We got some bounces, buried our chances and got our lead," said Ryan Garbutt, who had 2 goals and 2 assists on the night. "We're a pretty good team when we're playing with a lead."
Texas gave up two early in the contest to set them behind quickly. Three minutes in, Texas was stuck with a defensive faceoff after icing the puck on a long shift. Rochester won it and Brennan sniped one from the point past Spratt for a 1-0 lead. "That first shot was a laser," said Coach Pyle. "Through a screen off a one-timer."
Thirty seconds later, Texas left a man uncovered in the crease to go down 2-0 just 3:41 into the contest. "We were right where we usually are," joked Coach Pyle. Good thing for Texas that Rochester hasn't scored more than 2 goals in nine road games this season.
Late in the first with Max Fortunus in the box, some clever forechecking work by Travis Morin and Ryan Garbutt got the Americans flustered and allowed Brenden Dillon to sneak down from the point and snap home an easy rebound goal for his second of the season. The shorthanded tally was Texas's third on the season. The Stars closed the period at a 2-1 deficit.
The second period was where Texas came alive. Brad Lukowich opened the onslaught, jumping into the play down the left wing side and snapping home his first goal of the season. Garbutt and Fraser assisted. Garbutt got one of his own a few minutes later with a great shot over MacIntyre's left shoulder from the circles. "That was my buddy in net, so it felt good to score a couple on him."
Francis Wathier earned Texas the lead with the ultimate game winner, another shorthanded tally with 4 minutes left in the second period. Wathier's 6th of the year was assisted by Dillon. Mike Hedden got into the action as well with a breakaway goal on MacIntyre that set the score at 5-2. Ryan Garbutt added his second of the night and fourth point overall in the third period, splitting two defenders and beating the goalie five-hole.
Texas shutdown the Rochester attack in the second and third. "It was team effort and team dedication in our own end and it was great to see," said Garbutt. Of the success of the penalty kill, he added: "Everyone is sticking to what they do. It's nice to get goals on the penalty kill like that. To get shorties like that is really uplifting."
Coach Pyle commented positively on Garbutt's night. Pyle coached Garbutt in Gwinnett and that connection was actually part of what brought Pyle to Texas. "You knew at some point he'd have a game and break through," said Pyle. "I'm really glad for him."
Neither team scored a power play goal in the contest. Texas held Rochester to just 16 shots. Texas finishes their three in three tomorrow with a game at San Antonio.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Godard, Coyle (scratched)
Sawada (unspecified injury)
Larsen, Vincour, Bachman (callup)
Luke Gazdic got a misconduct in the third for Rule 75.4, likely subsection (iii), which assessed a misconduct for any player who persists in actions "designed to incite an opponent into incurring a penalty". Gazdic was attempting to get even with an Amerk forward to elbowed Hubert Labrie in the head on a race for a puck at the end wall. Labrie finished the game.
Tonight's attendance was 5,754.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Rochester - December 17 2011