Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Texas Stars Find Success in Overtime Against Barons, 5-4

Justin Dowling scored the game-winner early in OT to secure two points
Justin Dowling (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Another overtime game against the Barons saw a different result for the home team Texas Stars as they triumphed in the extra session by a 5-4 mark tonight in Cedar Park. In the back-and-forth game, the Stars did not hold a lead until the final goal of the game in overtime, coming back from three separate deficits to match the Barons and tie the game.

"You can't take anything away from OKC," said Coach Laxdal. "They are a great team and have great team speed. They can strike pretty quick."

In the end, it was Justin Dowling with a quick strike to end things in the overtime period. Texas found itself on the power play to start overtime and cashed in for their third PPG on six opportunities in the contest.

"Obviously there was a lot of room out there," said Dowling. "We were trying to keep the puck moving and try to get it on net. Klingberg probably could have shot that. He had the whole lane, but he made a great pass."

Despite the win, Coach Laxdal definitely indicated he was not happy with the goals against numbers for Texas so far this season.

"You've gotta look at goaltending," said Laxdal. "I don't think it was Jack [Campbell]'s best game. We're giving up under 25 [shots]. We shouldn't give up more than 2 goals at home."

Laxdal further pointed out that his team's defensive zone coverage has "a lot of work to do." The club is giving up 3.17 goals against per game so far this season.

This short series against OKC has proven that they are a team to contend with this season.

"Their goalies are stepping in and doing a great job," concluded Dowling. "We put up 45 shots today. When you're putting up lots of shots, you expect them to go in. Their goalies have played well, and their power play is unbelievable."

OKC struck early in the first period twice to take a 2-0 lead by the ten minute mark of the opening frame. Jordan Oesterle and Iiro Pakarinen each collected a goal, Pakarinen's on the power play. Needing to break the momentum, Texas got a lucky goal off a shot that Brett Ritchie didn't even claim was a shot. It was his first of the season.

"I've had a lot of shots and chances, but I knew if I stuck to it one would go in," said Ritchie.

The Stars tied it on the power play with Maxime Fortunus' bomb from the top of the circle. It was his first of the season as well. Ryan Hamilton answered right back on the power play for OKC, taking the score to 3-2. The goal was called on review after it actually broke through the netting of the goal. The Stars took a few more penalties just after the Barons PP goal, and it really took the energy out of the building.

Brendan Ranford would score surely one of the prettiest goals of his short career to get things to even after forty. A spin around shot that he roofed on Tuohimaa was greeted with mouths agape by many in the crowd. It wouldn't last long as Anton Lander took the wind out of Texas' sails just 14 seconds into the third, walking in on the Stars' defense and beating Campbell to go ahead 4-3.

"We lost our momentum in the second with all those penalties and came in flat in the third," said Ritchie. "There's no excuse to lay back. We had a few good shifts from a few lines in a row and it changed the tide."

Recent assignee Curtis McKenzie had been fighting the puck all night, it seemed, but won the battle when it mattered late in the third.

"I didn't think I had my best game to start," he said. "Getting back in the lineup, I was expecting too much out of myself early. It was nice to find it at the end of the game."

His power play goal from Travis Morin on a very nice tip took the game to OT. As Texas pushed late in the third, they drew a penalty against Jason Williams. With Williams in the box to start OT, the 4-on-3 unit beat Tuohimaa for the 5-4 final score.

Texas will not play OKC again until Thanksgiving. Now they head to Cleveland for a back-to-back set against the Lake Erie Monsters.

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

Fortunus-Wrenn
Meech-Klingberg
Gaunce-Honka

Campbell

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Jokipakka (callup)
Troock, Peters, Dalhuisen, Lagace (scratched)

Tonight's attendance was 3,694.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Oklahoma City - October 29 2014

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