|Justin Dowling (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
Last night's game was the first time all three members of the formidable line were healthy and together. Toronto couldn't handle them. Mike Hedden, Ritchie and Dowling each had a goal and two assists, including the opening goal and the game winner in the deciding Game 7.
"It was hard not to get up for this game," said Dowling of the atmosphere surrounding a Game 7.
Dowling himself wasn't expecting to play in this series. Doctors initially gave a timeline of four weeks when he was first injured on May 16th. He returned in two and a half.
"I wasn't expecting to play tonight. Things just unfolded how they did. I benefited a lot from going to Dallas and getting treatment from their guys up there. The doctors said they haven't seen an arm heal like that. They did an unbelievable job, and I'm grateful."
When asked about how his arm felt after Texas got on the board in the second, Dowling added with a smile, "It didn't hurt to put my hands up. That's for sure."
He gave a lot of credit to his linemates for helping him ease into the game. An offensive zone push by the trio got the puck on Dowling's stick early to help knock the rust off.
"That first shift I was able to handle the puck a bit and see how my arm felt. After that, it kept getting better and better. Once we scored our first goal, the crowd made me feel amazing."
Ritchie added, "It must have been tough for Dowling. I know what he must have felt to start the game, being out for a little while. He got the cobwebs out early and we kept rolling the rest of the game."
With four full days between games, the Stars will look to rest up now and go full steam into the Finals with a healthy Dowling centering that deadly trio.
- A cursory look at the St. John's IceCaps roster reveals two former Texas Stars and one training camp invitee. Goalie Tyler Beskorowany backs up Michael Hutchinson in net. Kael Mouillierat ranks in the top six of scoring for STJ. Defenseman Cody Lampl, who was an invitee to Texas camp in past years, has yet to play in the postseason. Mouillierat and Beskorowany played together in Idaho with current Texas Stars Dowling and Hubert Labrie last season.
- 2574. That's the distance, as the crow flies, from the Cedar Park Center to Mile One Centre in Newfoundland. It is the third longest possible Calder Cup Finals matchup distance after Abbotsford/St. John's (3088) and San Antonio/St. John's (2724).
- Looking back for a moment, Drew MacIntyre is an NHL backup next year. He has to be. There's nothing left to prove at this level.
- The 100 Degree Hockey store already has quite a few sales. That includes one #AngrySwede shirt actually shipped to a Nilstorp fan in Sweden. Check it out if you haven't yet.