Saturday, October 7, 2017

Texas Stars Tame Chicago Wolves in OT, 6-5

(Credit: Texas Stars)
With a copy-paste scoring line from last night, Texas notched a 6-5 OT win over the visiting Wolves this evening in Cedar Park, vaulting their record to 2-0. Jason Dickinson was the overtime hero, scoring his second of the night with 17.7 seconds left in the extra frame to seal the deal.

"All I was thinking was trying to keep [Shea] Theodore off my back," said Dickinson, who scored five points on the weekend. "He's fast, and I was tired. I was thinking if I can keep him off the puck and get a shot off, I'd give myself a chance."

Dickinson's chance capped a comeback win for the Stars, who led 4-2 as the third period started but gave up three straight to find themselves down 5-4 late in the third period.

"That's a highly skilled team, and you have to give them a lot of credit. It's no surprise the score is that high. And it's not like the goalies played bad. McKenna made some great saves."

Matt Mangene tied things up to ensure the overtime period. The defense activated tonight for the squad with Gavin Bayreuther and Mangene scoring on the night.

"It was an incredible game to watch from the fan standpoint," said Coach Laxdal. "Pretty tough game to watch if you're a defensive minded coach. It's two wins for us and we've got a week to work on what we need to work on. It was a good weekend to watch hockey."

Chicago opened the scoring with surely the best player on their roster netting his second of the weekend. Shea Theodore found twine from the point on the power play. It was one of three penalties Texas took in the period, giving an uneven start to the game for the Stars. They made up for it with a power play goal of their own, a 5-on-3 tally. Gavin Bayreuther snuck down low to roof a puck that slid off the stick of Curtis McKenzie as he tried his usual in-tight rotation play on the post.
(Credit: Texas Stars)

"That's kinda part of the play I don't want to spoil too much," said Bayreuther when asked if it was a designed play. "The puck popped out to my stick, and I was lucky enough to put it home."

The Stars pushed the pace in the second, earning their first lead of the night with Jason Dickinson's second of the season. Coach Laxdal called it the Stars' best period of the weekend. The goal was a bizarre play wherein Cole Ully just threw the puck on net, and Dickinson batted it out of midair. The bounce seemed to fluster Oscar Dansk, who fell flat on his back and allowed the puck over the line.

Shea Theodore would strike again on the power play, another point shot as well. His third goal of the weekend tied things at two. Texas answered right back with two pretty scoring plays. Travis Morin went first, completing a passing play from Dickinson to Ully to Morin, backhanded, and over Dansk. Mark McNeill potted his first of the season off the pass from Gavin Bayreuther, who was patrolling down low on the half-wall. Laxdal commented again on the play of the fourth line, which added energy all throughout the game.

"When you're up 4-2, you know you'll get a push," noted Laxdal, and push the Wolves did. After a breakdown by Texas to allow the score to slip to 4-3 off a backdoor tap-in, Chicago netted two more in 90 seconds and the script was flipped to a 5-4 Chicago lead. Laxdal contemplated the timeout, "I decided to let the guys play through it. We had enough time on the clock. I knew the game was being televised so we'd have a 3-4 minute break coming, so we used that."

Dickinson added, "I think our whole team did a great job, nobody panicked. We weren't worried at all." The aforementioned Mangene goal tied things up, as he snuck down the right side and wired the puck far side through traffic for the 5-5 tie.

Overtime was no walk in the park as Brent Regner took a high-sticking minor to give a power play to the Wolves. Mike McKenna came up with five saves in the OT period, most of them on that PP, and was the best player on the ice in the extra frame.

Jason Dickinson ended it all in the last minute. With Theodore on his back, Dickinson had two-thirds of the ice to decide what to do. "There's two guys who can fly," said Laxdal. "Theodore made an effort to get back there. Dickinson got great position on the chance and buried it."

The Stars acknowledge there are gaps right now. Bayreuther noted, "A lot of the veterans say the first couple of games are a scramble as guys are trying to find their game and team play."

Texas has a week to patch up their defensive deficiencies. They'll next be in action on the road against San Diego next Friday.

Tonight's lines:
Flynn-Dowling-Gurianov
McKenzie-Hintz-Elie
Dickinson-Morin-Ully
Laberge-Dries-McNeill

Heatherington-Regner
Bayreuther-Mangene
Bystrom-Hansson

McKenna

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Rallo, Fyten, Markison (scratch)
Bodnarchuk (upper body)
Martenet (mononucleosis)

Tonight's attendance was 5,392.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Chicago - October 6 2017

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