Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Texas Stars Clinch League's Best Record with 2-1 Win in OKC

William Wrenn was plus-2 tonight. (Credit: Steven Christy)
Texas needed two points to clinch the best record in the league facing the Oklahoma City Barons in what could be their first round matchup in the Calder Cup Playoffs. It was tight. It was grinding. It was a win. The one-goal victory sealed up the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy, awarded to the AHL club with the best record, for the Texas Stars in their fifth season. It is the first time Texas has won the award and the first time a Western Conference team has won it since 2009's Manitoba Moose (featuring Maxime Fortunus).

Toby Petersen and Kevin Henderson were the goal scorers in the contest. Cristopher Nilstorp got the start, stopping 24 of 25. The Stars rested many of their top regulars, including Travis Morin, Brett Ritchie and Maxime Fortunus, for maintenance.

Texas opened the scoring early in the first period with just their third shot of the game. Taylor Peters slipped the puck over the Toby Petersen, who scored his fifth of the season in just his second game back from injury. Oklahoma City held the puck in the Stars' zone to start the game but a defensive lapse by the pair of Musil and Klembom led to that first goal for Petersen.

Texas managed to outshot the Barons 11-2 in the opening frame and held them to a single shot for the first seventeen minutes of the game. The second period saw a little more offense. Alex Guptill took a penalty for hooking, which was the start of the tilted ice on the penalty front for Texas. Anton Lander appeared to have scored on the power play but it was called a no goal on the ice and on review. Less than a minute later, Steve Pinizzotto scored his twelfth of the year off a rebound from the Taylor Fedun shot on the same power play.

As the period wore on, the Stars and Barons were more even on shots in the frame. The final shot of the second period for Texas put them ahead 2-1 in the contest. Kevin Henderson jammed home a rebound off the initial work by Taylor Vause and William Wrenn with just 33 seconds left in the period.

There were a number of uncalled physical plays in the second period. The third period saw the ice tilt toward OKC with the Barons earning two power plays in the early period. The Stars weathered the storm on the penalty kill and held down the lead against the desperate Barons. Steve Pinizzotto got a late game misconduct call for abuse of officials, the second time in as many games that an opposing players has taken such a penalty. Greg Zanon took one in San Antonio and was suspended for two games afterwards.

Texas had one final penalty to kill off as Toby Petersen was called for boarding with less than a minute remaining in the third. The Barons went 6-on-4 against Nilstorp and Texas but could not get the equalizer, giving Texas the league's best record.

The Stars will play their final regular season game on Saturday at home against Abbotsford.

Tonight's lines:
Hedden-Dowling-Glennie
McKenzie-Vause-Ranford
Henderson-Faksa-Stransky
Guptill-Peters-Petersen

Jokipakka-Meech
Oleksiak-Gaunce
Labrie-Wrenn

Nilstorp

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Sceviour, Jeffrey, Nemeth, Mueller (callup)
Morin, Ritchie, Fortunus, Troock (scratched)
Klingberg, Hulak (injury)

Today's attendance was 3,067.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Oklahoma City - April 16 2014

3 comments:

  1. Was there a particular reason that Morin, Ritchie, and Fortunus were scratched or was it just to give them some time off before the play offs?

    ReplyDelete
  2. So, just a day to rest up, since they really weren't needed for the game tonight?

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting. Remember to keep it civil. Using a name will help us identify replies and build a Texas Stars community.