|Texas forward Mike Hedden goals top-shelf on Brust scoring his second goal of the game, the ultimate game-winner. (Credit: Josh Rasmussen/Texas Stars)|
"We're been struggling to win and letting them get away from us," said Hedden. "The boys came to play tonight and it's nice to get a win."
The Stars may have suffered a significant player loss though as Cristopher Nilstorp was injured early in the second period and had to be helped off the ice. Jack Campbell finished the game.
"Whether we have Nilstorp or Campbell in net, we feel confident."
It was the Heat getting the best of the Stars first in the contest. Krys Kolanos, always a threat to score, did just that off a bad angle shot on Nilstorp that slid in five hole on the tender for the 1-0 score. The Stars evened it up within five minutes with another bad angle shot low on the left win side, beating Danny Taylor for his team-leading 28th of the year.
Abbotsford got the quick answer on a rebound goal again through the legs of Nilstorp. Blair Jones's second of the year made it 2-1 at the break.
The second period was all Texas and ended up being the difference in the game.
"It's nice to jump out early in any period. Once we get a goal, the life on the bench gets up."
Hedden was the firecracker in the period for the club. Ninety-three seconds in Hedden tied the score with a high shot over Taylor as he was falling to the ice. The goal was assisted by linemates Dowling and Chiasson and set the table for a productive second.
William Wrenn went next with his second AHL goal. The tic-tac-toe move from Wathier cross ice to Vause and back to Wrenn beat Taylor clean from the high slot and set the score at 3-2.
Hedden got the insurance goal with the same score line as his first goal. All of this before the five minute mark of the period and all Texas had to do was batten down the hatches to win, something they had much success with in the mid-season.
Just after Hedden's goal, Texas lost Nilstorp to injury. A Heat forward barreled into the Texas tender and he was helped off the ice by trainer DJ Amadio. Bretton Cameron fought with James Martin after the hit and Abbotsford picked up an extra minor for slashing. Gord Baldwin fought Testwuide later in the period in possible retribution for the hit.
Jack Campbell came in and only allowed one goal as the Stars managed to eke out their 34th win of the season. The third period tally came off a Mike Matczak point shot but it would be all the Heat got. In all, Campbell stopped 17 of 18 as he played 34:55 of the game including a third period where Texas was outshot 11-2. The Stars had 12 shots in each of the first two periods before the third.
Despite being a competitor in the West, Charlotte meanwhile has a very tough time with their closest rival, Eastern Conference bottom-dwellers the Norfolk Admirals. Texas managed to jump to 78 points with the win and the Checkers stayed at 75.
"This is an absolutely huge weekend against Charlotte," stated Hedden. Texas has an opportunity to, at best, move a full seven points ahead of Charlotte with two regulation wins. The victory over the Heat is a good start to that weekend drive.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
R. Smith, Roussel, Benn, Oleksiak, Vincour (call up)
Nemeth, Gazdic (injured)
Fyten, Coyle, Tousignant (scratch)
Texas got Justin Dowling back and healthy tonight. Cristopher Nilstorp was injured in the second and did not return to the bench in the third.
Tonight's attendance was 5,218.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Abbotsford - March 13 2013