Sunday, March 15, 2015

Full Team Effort Vaults Texas Over Milwaukee 6-2

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
There's something in these Texas Stars now that hasn't been there all season, according to Coach Derek Laxdal. After the Stars' 6-2 throttling of the Admirals tonight in Cedar Park, he opined that this is a team finally playing with passion and for each other.

"That's a team. That's passion. We hadn't seen that, and we're seeing it now. Any team, you have to play for the guy beside you. When you have that trust in your group, it can be a powerful thing."

Texas got contributions from all over the lineup as they completed the two-game set against Milwaukee with a huge four points. Laxdal pointed out, correctly, that it is more accurately an eight-point swing since Texas is right behind Milwaukee in the standings.

The game was so complete by Texas that there are at least half a dozen different angles you could take on the game. Jack Campbell had his first win since December and looked very good stopping 36 of 38. Brendan Ranford scored two, clicking with his linemates and playing his best hockey since being reassigned. Former Ads Scott Valentine and Kevin Henderson both scored against their old team. Branden Troock assisted on each of those goals and had a pretty stellar night as well.

Brendan Ranford expanded, "I thought we played well. Every line contributed on the night, and it was a good night for everybody. That's what we needed."

To put it simply, this team is very dangerous right now.

After a sleepy first few minutes, Ranford scored his first of the game on a sweeping backhand move. He beat Marek Mazanec, starting for the second straight game, farside for the 1-0 lead. Viktor Arvidsson tied things up less than a minute later on a breakaway where William Wrenn got burned by the footspeed of the young Swede.

Texas would go up for good on Henderson's goal just 49 seconds later.

"Henderson is on a streak here," said Coach Laxdal. "He's scoring about every other game. He had about four grade A scoring chances here. Branden Troock also had a good game tonight."

Troock passed to Henderson in the slot, where the former Ad roofed the puck for the 2-1 lead.

The second period was all Texas and started with a fantastic play by Scott Valentine. The Stars managed to force a turnover and Branden Troock raced to the puck in the Milwaukee zone. Scott Valentine lifted Troock's pass under the armpit of Mazanec as he fell to the ice.

"The effort on Valentine's goal to score was second to none. He showed a top notch effort to skate on to that loose puck."

Scott Glennie added his 11th of the year a minute later to make it 4-1.

As the period wore on, Texas found itself on the PK a few times, needing a big performance from their goalie. Jack Campbell, looking for his first win since December 20th, stepped up.

"My game is starting to feel better," said Campbell. "The guys played really hard in front of me, allowing me to see the shooting lanes and clearing our rebound."

Laxdal added, "For Jack to get in there and face a lot of shots and get the win, that's going to build confidence for him. We have a heavy schedule so we need two goalies."

Brendan Ranford closed the period with a rebound goal to make it 5-1 and take the pressure off the third period. Ranford looked solid for the first tiem since returning from Dallas.

"I think the last three games I've been better," he said. "The first four coming back were not great my greatest games all season, probably the worst stretch I've had. Playing with Dowling and Glennie has been really nice."

Newcomers Devin Shore and Ludwig Bystrom both got extended looks in the third period, including a PK shift for Shore. Texas and Milwaukee traded goals in the frame. Derek Hulak scored on the first shot of the period against backup Magnus Hellberg. Viktor Arvidsson got his second of the game on a redirect in front.

The Stars will stay in town to play Lake Erie on Tuesday.

Tonight's lines:
Ranford-Dowling-Glennie
Hulak-Morin-Rallo
Troock-Smith-Henderson
Peters-Shore

Gaunce-Mangene
Meech-Fortunus
Valentine-Wrenn
Bystrom

Campbell

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Oleksiak, McKenzie, Ritchie (call up)
Faille, Root, Stransky (scratch)
Faksa, Honka (injury)

Texas dressed seven defenseman tonight. Matt Mangene played fourth line forward on some shifts and defense on others.

Laxdal on Bystrom: "For a guy that flew in last night, he was fine. He didn't look tired. We ran him hard in the third to get some experience. He snapped some passes and played hard."

Tonight's attendance was 4,036.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Milwaukee - March 15 2015

2 comments:

  1. Excellent weekend of Texas Stars hockey . Two more road games with these guys and those will be big as well. Let's beat the Monsters on Tuesday and then we can look at a four game roadie from a positive perspective .

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  2. Starting Campbell was a gutsy call, in my opinion. Rynnas is the established starter, he won a tough game last night, and the team is on a roll. But it worked, and the team is going to be much stronger as a result. I think Laxdal has gotten a lot of heat from impatient fans who want wins, and there is no doubt the team had some growing pains and adjustment to his new/different style. But he is showing why he has been a winning coach so many times before and turning this team around. I think it we make the playoffs -- when 4-5 weeks ago that looked hopeless -- then a lot of critics are going to be eating crow.

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