Sunday, February 14, 2016

Texas Stars Buy In, Grind Out 2-1 Win

Stars have now put together five game winning streak
(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Far from the run-and-gun games of November, the Texas Stars captured a tight, grind-it-out 2-1 win this afternoon in Cedar Park. The win stretched their streak to five and put them at 8-2 in their last ten.

"You gotta give our guys credit," said Coach Laxdal. "That was a gutsy effort. Guys are just beat up. We asked everyone to play a role tonight and be part of the equation and everybody chipped in with an extra 3 or 4%."

Laxdal further called it the type of game where young players can develop a swagger for how to handle tight games.

With the recall of Curtis McKenzie this afternoon, one of those players asked to step up was Cole Ully. The rookie forward was scratched last night but jumped in to great effect this afternoon.

"When you're scratched, you want to come in and make an impact," said Ully. "To sit that out was tough and it motivated me to come out and play hard."

Ully's first period goal was the highlight of his night, which saw him take a significant amount of ice time on the Stars' third line and excel in it.

"I felt like I was flying out there in the first and second. It was a little more ice time than I'm used to in the third."

Maxime Lagace continued his unreal play with a 33 save effort and his tenth straight win. "Usually with goalies, it's a couple games up a couple games down, but he's been the most consistent. Our team has confidence in him when he's playing like that."

Both teams came in having played a heavy schedule this week and the play overall was a bit sloppy to start. Things tightened up as the game went on and the stakes went up.

Ully's tally was a greasy goal he didn't give up on. He said he tried to bank the puck off Thiessen's skate but instead got it on the backhand to tie things at one. Texas took the lead in the second period with a goal initially credited to Travis Morin on the power play. Postgame, Coach Laxdal indicated one of the Monsters may have put the puck in his own net and the credit had been changed to Mattias Backman, his sixth of the year.

Texas took to the PK five times in the game and came out with the clean sheet. With McKenzie up, new players like Cory Kane, Gemel Smith and Remi Elie were asked to step up and play on the PK.

"The penalty kill is something we've been working on all year," said Derek Hulak. "Guys are really buying into the systems."

A late effort by Lake Erie to tie things came up short as Texas was "relentless" in the words of Hulak to keep the puck out.

Texas heads west to play San Diego on Wednesday.

Tonight's lines:
Ranford-Dickinson-Ritchie
Stransky-Morin-Hulak
Ully-Smith-Elie
Kane-Molin-Troock

Backman-Honka
Johns-Lindell
Blacker-Bystrom

Lagace

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Faksa, McKenzie (call up)
Rallo, Shore, Dowling (injury)
Evans, Muse, Mangene (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 4,639.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Lake Erie - February 14 2016

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