Saturday, February 24, 2018

Four-Goal Second Period Puts Texas Past Milwaukee 5-2

(Credit: Derek Sparta/Texas Stars)
It was tight playoff hockey against Milwaukee for a third game in a row. That is, until it wasn't. In just 56 seconds in the second period, the Admirals saw their 1-0 lead evaporate into a 3-1 deficit as Texas roared to life offensively against usually stingy Anders Lindback.

"Huge weekend for us," said defenseman Andrew O'Brien, who scored the game winner and added an assist. "And it's nice to get two wins against a team that traded you away."

Milwaukee scored first, but the Stars had tons of chances in the period.

"Lindback did a great job keeping the score 0-0," said Texas coach Derek Laxdal. "We had four grade A scoring chances we should have buried on him. He did what he had to do."

However, Texas got even quickly and without mercy in the second period. Petter Granberg kneed one of the Stars, and Brian Flynn stepped up and took exception. It wasn't a full-on fight, but the pair got two each for roughing, setting the stage for 4-on-4.

"Give Brian Flynn a lot of credit because he sparked our team, He stood up for his team and that gave us a bit of a spark in the 4-on-4. It was a huge turning point in the game."

Brent Regner went first with a good keep on the left point, a walk of the blue line and a floating slapper to beat Lindback and tie things at one. With the goal not yet announced in the building, the Stars went again, just 14 seconds later. Sheldon Dries got the rebound on a Tommy Thompson shot for the 2-1 lead. Milwaukee took their timeout, but it didn't stop the bleeding.

Andrew O'Brien scored his aforementioned game-winner on another rebound, his first of the year, just 42 seconds later. In all, Milwaukee saw their lead turn around in less than a minute.

Three minutes later, Travis Morin scored from a sharp angle off the right wing side, and it was pretty clear the game was over. Texas and Milwaukee traded goals in the final frame, but those few minutes in the second put the Ads in too much of a hole to recover.

"[Lindback's] a great goalie," noted O'Brien. "He doesn't let many in like that, so I'm a little bit surprised."

Texas didn't need the goaltending as much tonight, but they got it anyways. Mike McKenna took sole possession of the 10th spot in all-time AHL wins with 35 stops of 37 shots. "He's in a really good groove right now. He's know what that second half is all about. We've been relying on him a bit and he's been giving us great performance."

Texas could have easily won the game by an even wider margin as the offense was clicking all over the ice. Colin Markison had at least three solid chances at a goal, including a scintillating shorthanded opportunity he just missed on.

"He's got great speed," said Laxdal. "Probably one of the fastest guys in the league. The feedback on Markison is that you'll get 9 or 10 breakaways a game, and he'll probably score on one. He's creating with his speed and pushing defense back. He's been a great find. He's been the unsung hero for our team this year."

Dillon Heatherington, who later got an assist on Dowling's third period goal, missed a tough backdoor play by just a few inches in the early third. Every line had chances.

"I'm happy with how the team is responding. It's just simple plays. When we try and get cute, we don't get the chances. The group we have now has done a good job of playing simple hockey, checking well and staying above the puck. When we get [Hintz and McKenzie] back, it will be like getting a player at the trade deadline."

The NHL trade deadline, by the way, is Monday. Texas plays in Chicago on Tuesday for a rare day game.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Kelleher, Scarlett, Paliotta (scratch)
McKenzie, Hintz (injured)

Roope Hintz is day-to-day. The Stars tried to get him in today, but he wasn't ready this morning. He will try again Tuesday in Chicago.

Tonight's attendance was 6,110.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Milwaukee - February 24 2018

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