Tuesday, February 3, 2015

San Antonio Bests Texas in Stars' First Shootout of the Year

Stars collect eight of ten possible points on homestand
(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Looking to turn a good homestand into a great one, Texas got just this close, falling in their first shootout of the season. The Stars collected eight of ten possible points in the five game set that spanned the All-Star Break and was very heavy on divisional opponents.

"We're selfish and want to get ten," said Laxdal, after admitting eight was good. "We have to battle for points. We're getting close to that [playoff] line, but it shows you how tough it is get over the line because everybody wins."

Texas was up 2-1 after forty and had a great chance at earning both points. Rocco Grimaldi helped to spur a comeback for San Antonio with the game-tying goal in the third period and the winner in the shootout for the 3-2 final.

The Stars managed to make it through overtime without any score for the first time this season. It wasn't for lack of trying on both sides. Brendan Ranford hit a post with 4:41 left, and the 3-on-3 segment was especially electrifying as both teams had good chances.

"3-on-3 is a crapshoot. You're trying to 2-on-1 guys all over the ice. We couldn't capitalize on it. For us, it's disheartening because we'd like to get an overtime win."

Justin Dowling added, "[Overtime has] been our Achilles' heel this year. I thought we played well in overtime and well enough to win the game. We weren't super ready to go to a shootout today since we haven't been there in a while."

Rookie Gemel Smith scored his sixth goal of the season in the game's opening minutes. It was his fourth career goal against Dan Ellis.

Another rookie, Connor Brickley of San Antonio, would tie the game up off a point shot a few minutes later to set the score at tied after the first period. Brickley got a stick on Jonathan Racine's point shot to get the puck between Anders Lindback's pads. The Swedish tender kicked his skate in to attempt to cover the puck and knocked it into the net. The Rampage outshot Texas 17-16 in the period.

Derek Hulak continued his emergence as a solid all-around player in the second period. With Travis Morin in the box for high-sticking, the rookie forward blocked three shots on the same shift to keep the San Antonio power play off the board. In the third, he added two more big blocks on the PK.

"We've been harping on shot blocking and Dallas is making us wear those shot blockers," said Dowling. "Even with them, Hulak was getting them in all the wrong places. He really put his body on the line and sacrificed a lot for us."

Later in the period with Texas on a power play of its own, it was another rookie, Julius Honka, helping to generate the go-ahead goal for the Stars. With a nice keep at the right point, Honka got the puck down to Brendan Ranford on the man advantage. Ranford slid the pass out to Justin Dowling, who one-timed the puck by Ellis stick-side high. Hulak was at the net occupying a defenseman to boot.

Rocco Grimaldi kicked off the third period with an unassisted tally.

Overtime had been unkind to Texas this season and the team was hoping for a different fate. Coach Laxdal called the 3-on-3 segment a track meet. Further, he specifically called out a play where Shane O'Brien threw his stick at a puck to try and keep the puck away from a Stars' forward.

"If you look at the overtime again," said Laxdal. "I don't know how a player can throw his stick on a puck and get away with it without a penalty call. That's a question for the league."

In the shootout, Brendan Ranford was the only Stars' scorer. Vincent Trocheck and Rocco Grimaldi both scored five-hole on Lindback. All four Rampage goals in the game were scored five-hole.

Texas now hits the road to play San Antonio on Thursday.

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

Meech-Fortunus
Honka-Valentine
Gaunce-Oleksiak

Lindback

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Rynnas, Jokipakka (call up)
Mangene, Wrenn (scratch)
Henderson, Faksa (injury)

Tonight's attendance was 3,530.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - February 3 2015

2 comments:

  1. At least we finally played a good competitive overtime so that's a positive. We have a ways to go but we are getting much more solid play now. Kind of wish Jamie was up in D and Jokie down here but I understand what the big club is doing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm not sure I have ever seen a guy get hit with the puck as much as Hulak did tonight, he did an outstanding job, it was brutal.

    ReplyDelete

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