Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Justin Dowling, Texas Stars Tame Bulldogs 4-0

Justin Dowling (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Having just secured their playoff spot, the Texas Stars did not rest on their laurels as they smashed the Hamilton Bulldogs tonight in Cedar Park by a 4-0 mark. Justin Dowling continued his hot streak with two more goals in tonight's game to add to two in Saturday's contest.

"I'm just starting to get a couple lucky breaks," said the second-year Star who has now found the net nine times on the season.

Linemate Brett Ritchie had two assists in the game and added, "Everybody's a bit streaky. You knew he was going to break out at some point. As long as one of us is putting it in, it doesn't matter."

Texas controlled the play throughout but did not open the scoring until the second period. The Morin line was held scoreless in the contest, but every other line tallied a goal. Scott Glennie and Taylor Peters were the goal scorers.

"[That depth] makes a big difference," said Coach Desjardins. "In the playoffs, they'll match their big D up to shut down your one line. It helps going into the playoffs to have more than one line."

The Stars pushed their point total to 92, tying them for first place in the league with Manchester. The win was their sixth in a row, tying a franchise record set earlier this season. Cristopher Nilstorp pitched a relaxed 20-save shutout, helping Texas stay in it with some big saves in the first.

After a very quick first period, Texas opened the scoring in the second period with a solid play by the rookie Ritchie. The eventual goal scorer, Dowling, sets up the play.

"Ritchie made a great play. He was walking down the wall there and saw me cross ice. He made a great pass under two sticks. I didn't get much on the shot. The guy slashed my stick on the follow-through so it was more of a change-up."

The puck fluttered by Dubnyk blocker side for the 1-0 lead halfway through the period and the game. Taylor Peters put up his seventh of the year just five minutes later off a one-timer on the pass from Matej Stransky.

Dowling tallied his second of the night and fourth in two games as the third period began.

"On the second goal, the puck was just laying there after Ritchie drove the net hard. He's a big body and he gives D-men fits. He just drove the net hard and took two guys with him. I ended up alone with the puck."

The tap-in goal gave Texas certain breathing room and put the goal of getting the shutout for Nilstorp as top priority. Scott Glennie tallied his thirteenth of the year halfway through the period, finishing in tight on a pass from Patrik Nemeth. Nemeth was plus-4 on the night, bringing his plus/minus to a team-leading plus-17. The closest Stars behind him are Morin and Gaunce at plus-13 each.

Texas will now travel to San Antonio on Thursday to complete the unfinished game from March 1st.

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

Oleksiak-Gaunce
Nemeth-Meech
Jokipakka-Fortunus

Nilstorp

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Sceviour, Jeffrey (callup)
Wrenn, Labrie (scratch)
Petersen (injury)

Today's attendance was 3,021.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Hamiltoon - March 25 2014

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