Saturday, April 9, 2016

Texas Stars Clinch Playoffs With Wild Comeback, Win 8-5

Matej Stransky celebrates the go-ahead goal. (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Usually when you're down 5-2 halfway through the game, that's pretty much it. Pack it in, boys. You'll get 'em next time. The Stars did not accept that tonight and punched their ticket to the playoffs with an extraordinary comeback.

"That's a great game for us to play and win," said Coach Laxdal. "It sets us up well for the playoffs. Second and third period we ran it hard. We saw some of our players back to the level we needed them to be."

The Barracuda's leading scorer, Ryan Carpenter, contributed two of the first three goals and sent Maxime Lagace to the bench in favor of Jack Campbell. Down 3-1, Laxdal said he wanted a spark for his team and he went to Campbell without hesitation just a minute into the second period.

Campbell would let up two more, including a shorthanded tally, to set the score at 5-2 after 12:11 of the second. McKenzie's pretty backhander in the first and Jason Dickinson's diving power play goal in the second were the only goals Texas had to that point.

Matej Stransky kickstarted the comeback with a laserbeam goal off a paunchy rebound with under two minutes left in the second. Travis Morin found Esa Lindell sneaking down the left wing side just a minute later for sniper's goal and the 5-4 score after forty minutes.

The fireworks really went off in the third period. Justin Dowling knotted things at five with goal through some traffic. Matej Stransky got his second of the night to push it to 6-5 with a bell ringer off the crossbar after nimbly maneuvering around some San Jose defenders.

A shorthanded 2-on-1 by Dowling and Morin gave Dowling his second of the night. To cap off the scoring, San Jose left Jason Dickinson all alone in front for the final 8-5 marker.

Jack Campbell performed well down the stretch, stopping 19 of 21 total on the night. Aaron Dell got shelled by the Stars with 43 saves on 51 shots, including 23 in the second period alone.

With playoffs clinched, Texas puts its sights on Wednesday's game against San Antonio.

Tonight's lines:
Elie-Dowling-Rallo
Hulak-Morin-Ranford
McKenzie-Dickinson-Stransky
McMurtry-Mangene

Backman-Honka
Hansson-Lindell
Blacker-Bystrom
Evans

Lagace
Campbell

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Faksa, Ritchie, Johns (call up)
Shore, Ully, Troock, Smith (injury)
Kane, Army (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 6,836, officially recorded as the Stars' first sellout of the season.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Jose - April 9 2016

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