Saturday, October 18, 2014

Rynnas Shutout, Morin Record Tally Vault Texas Stars Past Utica 1-0

Travis Morin sets franchise record with 100th career goal
Travis Morin (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
A tight goalie duel was finished off in the third period with Travis Morin's 100th career AHL goal, all as a Texas Star, for a 1-0 victory over the visiting Utica Comets.

Morin, ever-deflecting of praise, summed it up simply, "It's nice to do it with the same team. Other than that, it's just another goal."

Texas' Jussi Rynnas and Utica's Joacim Eriksson each faced 29 shots on the evening, but Rynnas was just one better for his first shutout as a Texas Star.

"It was an entertaining game from start to finish for back-to-back games," said Coach Laxdal. "It was a good rebound game because we didn't think we were that great last night in Oklahoma City."

Cameron Gaunce added to the level critique of the game, "We knew they weren't a very high scoring team coming in. We gave them more chances than we should have."

The game had a very physical feel to it, despite the fact that the two teams only combined for sixteen penalty minutes. Utica is a team that will finish checks and get physical more often than Texas.

"We've got a tough group of guys," said Gaunce. "We might not have the guys that will drop the gloves at every opportunity but we're a team with a lot of character. If they want to play a strong physical game, we'll use our skill, talent and speed to our advantage."

The Stars and Comets traded power play chances throughout the game until late in the second period when Cameron Gaunce took a tripping call on the penalty kill and moved the advantage to 5-on-3 for Utica.

Veterans Maxime Fortunus and Derek Meech manned the defense for the entire advantage with Travis Morin and Radek Faksa rotating at forward.

"You want guys who are going to be smart on a 5-on-3 and aren't going to be running around," said Morin. "You know you're going to give things up on a 5-on-3 but it's knowing what you're willing to give up. We don't want passes through the crease or back doors."

Laxdal praised the 2-man kill as well, "It's a tough job description. You look at Radek Faksa, blocking shots. It's important to your hockey club and it's not a pretty job. You've got to have that."

The success on the kill vaulted Texas to the only goal of the night early in the third period. Travis Morin describes the play:

"We had a 3-on-2 rush. Ritchie moved it wide to Ranford and I pulled up and went to the back side. Ranford put a nice pass off the pad. The goalie doesn't have a lot of choice but to kick it out to the side. I was lucky enough to be in the right spot and put it back toward the net. Luckily, it went in."

Late in the period, Utica would attempt to get the equalizer but a penalty on former Star Dustin Jeffrey would all but salt it away with 2:18 left. The Comets were unable to pull the goaltender for even a second at the end and Texas set a 3-0 season mark.

Texas is next in action at Oklahoma City on Friday.

Tonight's lines:
Henderson-Faksa-Stransky
Ranford-Morin-Ritchie
Smith-Dowling-Glennie
Hulak-Peters-Troock

Honka-Meech
Jokipakka-Fortunus
Gaunce-Klingberg

Rynnas

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Dalhuisen, Root, Lagace (scratched)
Wrenn, Rallo (injury)

Tonight's attendance was 4,248.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Utica - October 18 2014

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