Friday, January 8, 2016

Texas Stars Tame Wolves With Philippe Desrosiers' First AHL Win

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
The most impressive defensive effort of the season for Texas yielded a 3-1 win and the first AHL victory for Philippe Desrosiers tonight in Cedar Park. The Stars defeated the visiting Wolves thanks to their team defense.

"We have to band together," said Coach Derek Laxdal. "One of the messages we've talked about is team defense. Guys had great shot blocks [tonight]. It's a team mentality to start engaging a bit better defensively."

From the drop of the puck, Texas controlled the play. Travis Morin and Greg Rallo had both netted goals before Chicago had picked up a shot on net. That one found the chest of rookie Desrosiers, who was playing his first AHL home game and just second AHL game overall.

"It was a solid game [for Desrosiers]. He didn't get a shot for 10 minutes. He got a chance to settle in. Our young D played well. Our forwards responded and played with a lot of passion."

Coach Laxdal really touched on the combination of young defenseman stepping up while the forwards, veteran and younger alike, brough their defense game to win the contest.

"I liked the way our group responded [to the last loss]. We did a great job defensively. I thought from our side, we played solid for sixty minutes. You're going to make mistakes but we did a great job tracking back."

As mentioned, Travis Morin opened the scoring off a beauty pass from Rallo on the power play. Rallo got one of his own, getting the puck away after losing it in his feet momentarily on the backdoor.

Texas extended their lead in the second with another power play goal on a cross-ice pass. Jason Dickinson, who also set up the Rallo goal, found Julius Honka for the 3-0 lead. Laxdal noted that the power play is scoring at over 25% now and is giving the team "breathing room and allows us not to chase the game."

From there on out, Texas played a pretty simple defensive game. The Wolves outshot the Stars in the third period but it looked like Desrosiers could earn his first AHL win and the shutout in the same game.

Jeremy Blain ended that bid with Chicago's only goal, scored with just 56 seconds left in the contest. Regardless, it was a good confidence booster for Desrosiers, who allowed five in his first AHL game earlier this week.

Tempers flared a bit in the third, which should make for an interesting rematch tomorrow evening when these two play again.

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, Lagace, Johns (injury)
Evans, Kane (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 4,363.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Chicago - January 8 2016

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