Saturday, January 9, 2016

Despite Major Shot Deficit, Texas Stars Beat Chicago Wolves 5-2

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
It wasn't the prettiest game of the year, but the final result was one that the Stars certainly liked. Despite a 50-27 shots deficit, Texas came out on the right side of a 4-2 margin. Indeed, the Stars allowed the most shots against all year and vaulted the fewest shots on net as well.

"There were a lot of perimeter shots and shots from the points," said Coach Laxdal. "If you count scoring chances, it's probably pretty even. We did a good job boxing out second chance opportunities."

Goalie Philippe Desrosiers earned back-to-back wins, his first and second AHL wins, in his first back-to-back starts.

Brett Ritchie continued his offensive march with two goals on the evening. Cole Ully, who had a goal in the game, played one of his best as a Texas Star. He was all over the play with his linemates Gemel Smith and Matej Stransky. He drew a penalty in the second period with some hustle and scored in the first.

"I thought Cole gave us good minutes tonight. Cole scored a beautiful goal tonight, gave us more energy. He beat a pretty good defenseman inside outside and had a great shot. He's a young prospect, high end skill. We know he can score, but he has to learn to develop his defensive position."

Philippe Desrosiers was challenged much more in the game than he was last night, as the Wolves volleyed a season-high 50 shots on the rookie goalie. Desrosiers earned back-to-back starts, and Maxime Lagace returned from injury to back up.

"Phil responded to the challenge tonight. [Chicago] played a better game and had a good push and sense of urgency. Us getting the first power play goal settled us down. They pushed pretty hard for 60 minutes."

Brett Ritchie opened on the power play, keeping Texas hot on the man advantage. Ritchie broke in with another skater, faked the pass and beat Copley far side. Cole Ully had an excellent individual effort goal to break in on his lonesome and make it 2-0. In between, Zach Torquato finished off a nice 2-on-1 with a tap-in far side on Desrosiers. The period ended at 2-1 Texas, but the scoring chances were tilted 10-3 for Chicago.

The second period saw the same goal distribution: two for Texas and one for Chicago. Brett Ritchie went first once again. The Stars used their transition game to power their way from a penalty kill into the tally to make it 3-1. Derek Hulak made it 4-1 quickly thereafter on a skillful backhander that beat Copley despite Hulak having his back to the net on the shot.

Riley Brace earned a power play goal for the Wolves to set things at 4-2.

The third period was relatively quiet. There was a scary moment for Texas with the game already salted away thanks to an empty net goal by Dowling. Philippe Desrosiers was shaken up on a play at the net with 38 seconds left but stayed in the contest. Coach Laxdal noted that often the crowd getting into it pushes a goalie to stay in, and that's just what happened with Desrosiers.

Texas has a long layoff now, taking two days off entirely and returning to practice Tuesday. Their next game in Friday in Bakersfield.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Morin-Ranford
Elie-Dowling-Ritchie
Hulak-Dickinson-Rallo
Ully-Smith-Stransky

Lindell-Honka
Bystrom-Mangene
Backman-Blacker

Desrosiers

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Faksa (callup)
Troock, Shore, Johns (injury)
Evans, Kane, Muse (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 6,261.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Chicago - January 9 2016

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