Saturday, September 30, 2017

Denis Gurianov Shines as Texas Tops San Antonio 4-0, McKenna Earns Shutout

Denis Gurianov scores on the power play
(credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The Stars turned in a far better effort in their second and final game of the preseason, defeating San Antonio 4-0 in Cedar Park Saturday night. Denis Gurianov ended with a three point night and was generally everywhere in this game. Texas dominated time of possession, racking up several quality scoring chances. The Stars owned the face-off circle in the second period and won 75 percent of their draws. They ended up outshooting San Antonio 28-19.

Mike McKenna, who notched a 19 save shutout, summarized the game as a good starting point. “We’re all knocking the rust off, and it’s the first full game I’ve played. It’s a step in the right direction, but there’s a lot of hockey left to play.”

Gurianov scored in the first period on the power play when shots from Brent Regner and Brian Flynn caused a scrum in front of the net that put San Antonio goalie Ville Husso on his belly. When the Russian winger wasn't on the power play, he was killing penalties and posting up in front of the net during offensive possession.

“I tried to work on the PK and in the D zone for the team,” said Gurianov. “I thought it was good but we’ll see in the meeting tomorrow.”

Early in the 3rd period Gurianov joined the rush next to Justin Dowling in a 2-on-1. He found Dowling for the one timer glove side. It was the prettiest play in the game. Gurianov tallied another assist on the power play in the 3rd period as he found Brent Regner creeping in on the play from the point to put the Stars up 4-0. “I told our defenseman to go low and the forward to go high and it worked out,” said Gurianov during postgame.

Halfway through the second period the Stars created a 2-on-1, and Cole Ully scored off of the initial shot attempt by Max French. The goal seemed to put it all away as the game was never in doubt from there. Ully also dropped the gloves with San Antonio defenseman Gabriel Verpaelst late in the 3rd period. Earlier in the game, Verpaelst had a low hit on Matt Mangene that went uncalled.

While he wasn’t challenged much in the first two periods, McKenna remained poised as the shot totals mounted up and turned in a shutout. “It was great. The team played really well so that made things easy, especially early in the game. It was good to get some reps, just feel the puck a little bit and play an entire game.

McKenna has been here before and knows what the team needs to do over the coming week to prepare for the regular season opener against Chicago on Friday.

“Finding chemistry and dialing in what the team is going to be, what the lines are going to be. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but so does everybody.”

Tonight's lines:
Morin-Dries-McNeill
Flynn-Dowling-Gurianov
Thompson-Laberge-French
Ully-Markison-Fyten

Bodnarchuk-Mangene
Bystrom-Hansson
Heatherington-Regner

McKenna

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Harstad, Bayreuther, Moroz, Hanna, Sweetman, Rallo, Dahl
Martenet (mono)

Tonight's attendance was not available at press time.

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