Friday, December 6, 2013

Texas Stars' Power Play Puts Down Wild, 4-2

Jyrki Jokipakka had the game-winning goal and an assist.
(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Returning home from a three game road trip, Texas improved their excellent home record tonight with a 4-2 win over the visiting Iowa Wild. Jack Campbell got his first start since October 23rd. Jyrki Jokipakka and Mike Hedden each contributed a goal and an assist in the contest. The Stars were 2/5 on the power play on the night, including the game-winner.

"Last game in OKC, pucks weren't bouncing for us," said Cameron Gaunce. "[Tonight,] we were able to make a few plays and get the puck out of our zone. Jyrki was doing a great job jumping into plays."

Jokipakka wholly created the Stars' first goal of the night, a power play tally that saw him skate the puck on the breakout all the way from the goal line to the opposing blue.

"Jokipakka was good early [in the season] and then he tailed off a bit," said Coach Desjardins. "The last couple games he's started to play really well again."

Jack Campbell had a solid night, stopping 24 of 26 shots against him.

"The biggest thing was the goalie-defense exchanges between us and him in the first period," said Gaunce.

"It's tough to come back when you haven't played for a while," added Desjardins. "He made good saves and looked quick in the net."

Brett Bulmer opened the scoring for the Wild with a slapshot off the right wing less than three minutes into the game. It took most of the period for the Stars to answer back. Jokipakka collected the puck in his own zone with time winding down in both the period and a Texas power play.

The young Finn skated up the ice to the blue line and passed off, heading for the net. Mike Hedden was the eventual goal scorer off the cram play in front of Darcy Kuemper. The Stars put 38 shots on net in the game, 37 on Kuemper. He made several saves he had no business making throughout the contest.

"He's always been a very good goalie," said Gaunce. "He does a great job cutting off the angles. He's big, and he plays the puck well. It's tough to beat him."

The Stars would beat Kuemper a few more times on the night though. Brendan Ranford went next as he accepted a drop pass from Mike Hedden and put it on net. Kuemper got a piece of it, but not all of it, as it sailed into the net for a 2-1 lead.

Bulmer answered back with his second of the night and eighth of the year. He fired this one from the left wing side, beating Campbell off the far side through traffic for the tie at two.

Jokipakka picked up his second goal of the season just a few minutes later. As time wound down in the middle frame, Texas found itself at a two-man advantage. Rather simply, Jokipakka ripped one from the left point for a clean shot past Kuemper. It was the eventual game winner.

As time ticked away in the third, the Stars put themselves in a precarious position. Up by one, they took two penalties late, slightly overlapping. Hubert Labrie was called for boarding, which the Stars weathered. Toward the end of it though, Colton Sceviour was caught without a stick and someone on the Stars' bench tossed him a new one as he approached instead of handing it to him. That's a rarely called penalty but a penalty nonetheless.

"You can't do that," said Desjardins succinctly. "It was just a bad play, and you can't do that."

It didn't matter as the Stars found the empty net on a clearing shot. It was Chris Mueller's 10th of the year, technically a shorthanded tally as well.

The Stars will play the Iowa Wild again tomorrow at the Cedar Park Center before taking a six-day break.

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

Jokipakka-Gaunce
Nemeth-Button
Fortunus-Labrie

Campbell

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

Tonight's attendance was 4,533.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Iowa - December 6 2013

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