Saturday, December 7, 2013

Texas' Nilstorp Bests Iowa's Kuemper 2-1 in OT Goalie Duel

Cristopher Nilstorp (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
It was a goalie showdown in Cedar Park tonight between Cristopher Nilstorp and Darcy Kuemper. Nilstorp got the better of his Iowa counterpart, skating away with a 2-1 overtime victory off the stick of Colton Sceviour. Between the two goalies, 82 saves were made on 85 shots.

"You don't expect to get a lot [against Kuemper]," said Sceviour. "You have to get greasy ones and try something outside your comfort zone. Any shot is not a bad shot."

Texas had 46 total shots through nearly 64 minutes of hockey. Nisltorp was tested as well with 39 total.

"[Nilstorp] made a huge save on the power play in the second period. I believe it was 0-0 at that point. Anytime you outplay a team and they get the first goal, it's deflating. He was huge [to get that stop]."

The fact that Texas felt confident rolling Nilstorp and Campbell in back-to-back nights means that one of the top strengths for the squad is back at 100%.

"It's been a long time since we've been able to do that," said Desjardins, who was very satisfied with the effort of both his keepers on the weekend.

The Stars opened the first period with a flurry of shots. At one point early, the Stars led 13-1 on shots. Iowa evened things up a bit with two late power plays to end the period at a 20-11 Texas shot advantage.

It took until the end of the second period for the first puck to find the net. Scott Glennie created the chance with a swooping effort that saw him completely encircle the net before sending the puck on net from the high slot.

"We wanted to get more traffic in front of [Kuemper], and I think that showed on the first goal," said Maxime Fortunus, who got the only assist on the goal. "We got a good screen in front of him from Brett Ritchie."

Ritchie's screen allowed Glennie's shot to slip by Kuemper with just 36 seconds left in the second period.

Coach Desjardins praised Glennie's play of late. Glennie is on a five game point streak.

"He jumped on a couple plays and showed a lot of speed. He's got that in his game and it's good to see that coming back."

The third period saw Iowa even things up on the power play. Glennie took a slashing penalty at the net, one of those penalties that you're OK killing off as it stopped a Wild skater from having an unimpeded shot at the net.

Just seconds after a close call at the blue line on getting the puck out, Iowa cycled the puck down low and found Tyler Graovac in the slot for the goal.

"Up or down, you stick with the system. No matter what happens your plan stays the same," said Fortunus. "Even though they got one late, so be it. If it takes overtime or a shootout, we'll be ready for it."

Indeed it did take overtime. The Stars outshot the Wild 5-1 in the overtime period. Maxime Fortunus and Colton Sceviour narrate the game-winner.

"[Iowa] got a chip out of the zone," said Fortunus. "When I went back, I heard Justin Dowling yelling. I think everyone in the rink heard him. I just turned around and fired it. One of our keys is working our transition."

Sceviour, the eventual goal scorer, continued, "The pass was a little behind me and the [defenseman] was stepping up. My only chance was to slide it around him or it was going to end up being a chip in. I figured I would try it. Four on four you can get a little riskier. I just tried to elevate it."

He elevated the puck and elated the crowd as he scored his league-leading 18th goal of the season.

Now Texas takes a rest until Friday when they welcome their next opponent, the Chicago Wolves.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Morin-Sceviour
Glennie-Mueller-Ritchie
Hedden-Dowling-Ranford
Petersen-Peters-Wathier

Jokipakka-Gaunce
Nemeth-Button
Fortunus-Labrie

Nilstorp

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Oleksiak (callup)
Stransky, Vause (scratch)
Wrenn (injury)

Tonight's attendance was 5,080.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Iowa - December 7 2013

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