Friday, October 3, 2014

OKC Barons Top Texas Stars 3-2 in OT of Preseason Opener

Taylor Peters scored two in the preseason contest against OKC
Taylor Peters (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
In a game that was mostly dedicated to determining the fate of tryout players on both sides of the ice, the Texas Stars fell to the Oklahoma City Barons in overtime in the first preseason action for both teams. The Stars jumped out to a 2-0 lead by the third period, but the Barons clawed back to tie things and take the game in the extra period. Overall, the game was mostly about talent evaluation and getting back in the swing of things on the ice.

"The kids played a strong game 5-on-5 and got some good looks on the power play and penalty kill," said head coach Derek Laxdal. "Everyone got a good chance to play in all situations. It gives us a good chance to evaluate this players in a game environment. They did a lot of good things that we liked."

"The guys were excited," said Taylor Peters, who scored two goals and wore an "A" as an alternate captain in the game. "It's a great feeling to be a leader. The transition was a lot smoother, but with that comes a lot more pressure to step up."

Coach Laxdal spoke positively about Peters' line, which also included Gemel Smith and Branden Troock, "The top line worked hard. They responded on the power play and did a great job on the penalty kill. They want to play higher in the lineup, and this is a great chance for them to showcase themselves."

Most of the first period was spent on special teams one way or the other. Texas took four minors to OKC's three. Steve Qualier had one of the best chances of the first period on a net-front battle in Laurent Brossoit's crease. On a power play later, Wade MacLeod had another that came close as his shot trickled through the pads of Brossoit, but Kevin Henderson was unable to pounce on the puck before it was cleared. The Stars outshot the Barons 13-5 in the frame.

In the second period, Colton Beck and Quailer combined for another good chance to no avail. Quailer seemed adept at going to the right parts of the ice. He is on contract to Idaho and has 95 games of AHL experience across two seasons with Hamilton and Manchester. Based on that experience and depending on how he does in Boise, he could be on the short list for a PTO when the need arises mid-season.

Taylor Peters broke open the scoring off a misplay of the puck by Laurent Brossoit. Gemel Smith dumped a puck in and Brossoit went around his net to play it. A forechecking Peters was the benefactor as an odd bounce off the boards sent the puck out to the faceoff dot in front of an empty net.

"I'd love to say we practice that all the time, but that was just the luck of the draw," joked Peters.

Smith claimed it was a bit more of a planned play, "A lot of rinks have that so you might as well test it out."

Defenseman Charlie Dodero had the second assist on the play, passing the initial breakout up to Smith. Dodero is on contract to Idaho and is one of the tryout players here in Cedar Park.

Henrik Kiviaho gave way to Maxime Lagace halfway through the second period. Kiviaho finished with 10 saves, stopping every shot he faced in 31:04 of ice time. On the Barons side, Tyler Bunz took over for Brossoit in net after the second period. Brossoit stopped 21 of 22 shots in 40 minutes.

Taylor Peters potted his second of the night on the power play in the third period to make it 2-0. Gemel Smith assisted again and Troy Vance picked up the second. The Barons mounted their comeback though as the period wore on. Tommy Mele scored off a quick faceoff win in the Texas zone to cut the lead to 2-1 for the Stars. His brother, Steve, had the second assist.

Graeme Craig picked up the tying goal late in the third from the point. His shot bewildered the Texas defense and ended up bouncing off a defenseman and into the net. With the game tied at two, the Cedar Park Center saw its first foray into overtime under the new rules.

"I don't know how long we're going to play 3-on-3 [during the season]," said Peters. "Because players like Morin, McKenzie, and Ranford are going to eat those guys up. But I'm a fan of the change."

In the end, overtime didn't last that long, but it went the other way. The Barons' Iiro Pakarinen went five hole on Lagace for the win just 92 seconds into the overtime.

Tonight's lines:
Smith-Peters-Troock
Karlsson-Root-Livingston
Henderson-Bast-MacLeod
Beck-Hulak-Qualier

Cure-Dodero
Vance-Wrenn
Honka-Dalhuisen

Kiviaho
Lagace

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scratches and injuries will return for the regular season.

Today's attendance was 2,728.

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