Saturday, December 21, 2013

Texas Stars Rebound, Rout Barons 7-2 in OKC

Mike Hedden (Credit: Steven Christy)
Despite icing quite a motley group of skaters, the Texas Stars managed to finish off their pre-Christmas schedule with a 7-2 win in Oklahoma City tonight.

After losing much of their defense to injury either in the NHL or AHL, Texas got more bad news as Jyrki Jokipakka was not available for the game tonight after a high elbow from Kale Kessy last night. Forward Toby Petersen skated on defense with Russ Sinkewich and the Stars double-shifted a number of players onto the second line, which is missing its usual left winger, Scott Glennie.

None of that mattered on the evening as a three-goal second period beat the Barons and even chased Richard Bachman from the net. Travis Morin had two goals, and Curtis McKenzie had the primary assist on each. Mike Hedden had a goal and two assists. The Stars put on a two-goal third period just for good measure. Toby Petersen, playing defense, even picked up a goal and an assist.

Cristopher Nilstorp got the surprise start and had 34 saves on 36 shots against him.

Texas got things started very early with Travis Morin's fourteenth of the year. Just 23 seconds into the game, Curtis McKenzie and William Wrenn assisted on the opening goal. It wouldn't last long as Ryan Martindale got his second of the year less than a minute later. Everything was back to even as teddy bears rained down upon the ice for the Barons' teddy bear toss game.

With Jyrki Jokipakka out, Ryan Button is getting some time on the power play. It worked out very well for the young blue liner tonight as he collected his first AHL goal on the man advantage in the final 90 seconds of the opening frame.

In the second stanza, Steve MacIntyre took a bit of exception to Travis Morin after the whistle, butt ending the league's leading scorer and earning a five minute major and a match penalty. Texas went on the extended power play but, despite their spot as the league leader, traded goals with the shorthanded OKC squad.

Will Acton managed to put in a shorthanded goal for the Barons as Texas made a bad line change. He beat Nilstorp over the blocker to tie things at 2-2.

With many of their power play personnel out of the lineup, Texas started throwing out normal even-strength lines on the power play. Taylor Vause made the most of that opportunity, scoring his first of the year off a great pass from Taylor Peters.

The Stars went off in the back half of the period. Travis Morin scored his fifteenth of the year and second of the game on a three-on-one chance. Curtis McKenzie assisted, as did Russ Sinkewich, his first as a Star.

Mike Hedden extended the lead to 5-2 off the pass shot from Justin Dowling. Hedden tipped the puck up and popped it over Bachman.

Richard Bachman would not return for the third period, giving way to Chet Pickard in net for the Barons. Pickard was nearly as leaky, allowing a point shot goal from Toby Petersen and an unassisted tally to Chris Mueller.

The Stars now take a long break over Christmas, taking the ice again in San Antonio on December 27th.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Morin-Ranford
Mueller-Ritchie
Hedden-Dowling-Vause
Wathier-Peters-Stransky
Nigro

Wrenn-Oleksiak
Button-Labrie
Sinkewich-Petersen

Nilstorp

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Gaunce, Sceviour, Fortunus (callup)
Nemeth, Glennie, Jokipakka (injury)

The lines look a little strange tonight. Texas had Jokipakka out but no time to get another defenseman. Petersen played defense with Russ Sinkewich. A number of players cycled in with Mueller and Ritchie on the second line. Anthony Nigro did not receive a shift until the second period.

Tonight's attendance was 5,400.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Oklahoma City - December 21 2013

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