Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Physical Texas Stars Cruise to 6-1 Win Over Rival Rampage

Gemel Smith's pair highlights rookie's development during homestand
Gemel Smith (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Faced with a schedule that will see them outside the state of Texas for most of the rest of the month of February, the Stars took one final opportunity to collect some huge points tonight in Cedar Park with a 6-1 throttling of the San Antonio Rampage. Coach Laxdal called out two-goal scorer Gemel Smith as the best player on the ice tonight.

"It was a great team effort overall and guys were clicking," said Jamie Oleksiak, who had the game-winning goal and two assists. "Once we get momentum, guys start making plays, and we gain confidence."

The game's momentum hinged on a San Antonio 5-on-3 power play that spanned the first intermission. Coach Laxdal called out the excellent play of Greg Rallo, Jamie Oleksiak and Cameron Gaunce on the penalty kill to keep San Antonio off the board. The Stars drew a penalty while down 5-on-3 and then scored on the resulting power play after killing the 4-on-3 segment.

Jamie Oleksiak's collected the puck in front of the net and deposited it in the twine with a nifty turn-around move. From there, the Stars were off to the races on San Antonio.

The first period had been a grinding and physical affair, certainly expected by both parties after playing each other three times in the last week.

"I liked our physical presence," said Laxdal. "When you add Oleksiak, Wrenn and Henderson, we got heavier as a team, which is something we lack, especially in a game against San Antonio."

Late in the first, Cameron Gaunce snuck down low from the point to put home a five-hole tally on Dan Ellis for the 1-0 score off the pass from Derek Hulak.

After Oleksiak's goal to go up 2-0, it was time for Gemel Smith to extend his scoring prowess against Dan Ellis. Coming into the game, Smith had scored just six goals total but four had been against Ellis. He added another with a nice snipe off a bad San Antonio turnover in their own zone. That would end Ellis' night.

"I know I've been having some good luck against them," said Smith. "So I just tried to shoot the puck today. I've had [Ellis'] number here, and I guess I sense the opportunity and feel confident when I shoot on him."

Curtis McKenzie would go next on the power play, scoring his first in five games to make it 4-0. San Antonio's Michael Houser yielded one more goal before the end of the frame, a tip play by Greg Rallo off the shot by Derek Meech.

As things got out of hand on the scoreboard, they also got chippier on the ice. Even the first period had a big hit when Greg Zanon crushed Brendan Ranford along the near-side boards. Ranford did not miss a shift, but it was a thundering hit that set a tone for both sides. Even Julius Honka got into othe action, upending Jonathan Racine in the third with a hip check.

Shane O'Brien would break up the shutout for Jussi Rynnas on a power play. Travis Morin and Curtis McKenzie were in the box following a fracas that saw Morin nearly drop the gloves with Josh McFarland.

Gemel Smith added one more for good measure in the final minutes of the game. His 6-1 tally came off the assist of Jamie Oleksiak off a 2-on-0 type play where the two skaters just outpassed the goaltender.

Texas now has to hit the road for six games, starting with two in Iowa this weekend.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Morin-Ranford
Hulak-Smith-Rallo
Troock-Faille-Stransky
Mangene-Peters-Henderson

Gaunce-Oleksiak
Meech-Honka
Wrenn-Valentine

Rynnas

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Jokipakka, Ritchie (call up)
Fortunus, Faksa, Dowling, Glennie (injury)

Fortunus is day-to-day with an upper body injury. Travis Morin wore the captain's "C" in his place.

Tonight's attendance was 4,872.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - February 10 2015

3 comments:

  1. Great win.Now let's go have a 10 point road trip and a lot of happy fans will be waiting for the home pair of games to close out February. I'll be in Iowa freezing and cheering the guys on. Go Stars#!

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  2. Am I wrong or didn't Rob Mason announce the correction of Rallo's goal to Gemel giving him a hattie? And Bill, hope you and D enjoy the cold! See you on the 27th.

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  3. I particularly enjoyed the creative officiating at this game. Who would have suspected there was so much room for interpretation of the rules?

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