This right here, this was a good game. Todd Ford got the start in net, still wearing those wonderfully mismatched pads from the South Carolina Stingrays. Ford stood on his head to keep the Stars in this game and certainly earned that first star of the game.
The first thing the Stars did right was keep the Rampage off the scoresheet for the first 5 minutes of the game. As I said in the preview, they'd allowed a goal in the first five minutes in five of their last six. Tonight, they didn't allow a goal for 60 minutes.
Just after the six minute mark, Francis Wathier and Stu Bickel traded punches at center ice, with Wathier ending up on top of his man and drawing a raucous round of applause from the crowd. At 9:43 of the first, the Rampage took a roughing minor. The Texas Stars needed to capitalize on this opportunity. The Rampage were the 3rd best penalty kill in the league on the road coming into the game today. As I said in the preview, scoring on the power play would be a huge signal of a good game. With Ray Sawada planted in front of the net, bugging the heck out of Justin Pogge, Ivan Vishnevskiy bombed one from the point that beat Pogge. Score 1-0 Texas. They bested a strong PK with lots of shots and a man in front of the net.
But the toughest stretch of the night was killing a 5-on-3 that lasted for 1:06 late in the 1st. The Stars got physical, getting sticks in lanes and taking the body on shots. This was the defensive team that I knew from October and November.
The Stars added another on a deft 2-on-1 play from Aaron Gagnon to Sergei Korostin. Bearing down on Pogge, Gagnon tapped the puck across the crease to Korostin who redirected it through Pogge's legs to make it 2-0. The Stars locked it down the rest of the way, including not allowing a goal for an extended two minutes 6-on-5 empty net session to end the game.
This is what the Stars needed. They played defense; they scored on the PP. They got a really good game out of the goaltender and didn't allow a power play goal or any other type of goal. If we can keep this up, can we climb back into the first seed in the West Conference? I think we can.
Also, did Todd Ford play out of his mind tonight or is he a better goalie right now than Matt Climie? I know that a lot of folks, myself (and the wife) included, have a soft spot for him, but he's been letting in easy goals and having difficulty. Ford tracked the puck well tonight and really shut down the opposing attack, which laid 36 shots on him. I think Ford and Climie should share duties like Krahn and Climie shared in the early season. Matt played a lot better when he was sharing the load, and Ford has proven that he can help carry a heavy burden.
Lines for tonight:
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Wilson and Krahn (injured)
Gazdic and Shelast (scratched)
Lukowich, Fortunus, and Peters (NHL call ups)
Stafford was back to wearing his usual number, 5, tonight. Francis Wathier wore some sort of brace on his left arm after the fight for about half a period. The Rampage had a goal waved off late which resulted in a game misconduct for San Antonio. There was a broken stick in the crease after the play, so I'm guessing it was related to that. I'll update if I find out.
According to the game recap at the Rampage's web site, San Antonio's third period goal was disallowed because "a player was in the crease", which I take to mean that Ford was interfered with. Still doesn't explain the 10 minute misconduct tacked on to that play.ReplyDelete
Heard last night from an usher that Gazdic is out with a shoulder injury. Hope he heals up fast, his presence (and his uppercut) is missed!ReplyDelete
Great game by the Stars and Todd Ford last night. Was wondering how the State Farm Lone Star Faceoff news and ensuing TV schedule was received in Cedar Park.ReplyDelete
Any comments greatly appreciated.
--Andrew from the T3I Aeros blog.
Regarding Gazdic, if you go to highlights section (AHL live) of the AHL's website and go to the Texas vs Manitoba game on 2 Jan, the clip following the Wathier fight (about 45 seconds in) shows Gazdic take a shot to his shoulder, perhaps confirming what the usher was saying.ReplyDelete
Where I sit at Cedar Park, we were all jazzed about news of the games getting coverage on Fox Sports; rather shocked about it in fact, but definitely jazzed about it.
Very excited about the FOX Sports Southwest coverage for the Stars and Aeros. I don't know how many of the people in the CPC last night noticed it, but I think hardcore fans were super excited.ReplyDelete
As to the injury note, I will try to confirm.
I remember seeing Gazdic get hurt that game, I didn't think it was too bad, but it wouldn't surprise me if he's still out because of it (although he's often a healthy scratch also, so it could be either one).ReplyDelete
I was happy to see Ford in net, although I wouldn't say he played out of his mind, it seemed most of the shots he faced should have been stopped, he did a great job controlling rebounds though, but I think if Climie had started we would have been going to overtime (it looks like he got himself a new set of equipment too, I wonder if any of it belonged to Alex Auld like Climie's old glove)
And I don't know if anyone else could see how beautiful it was (I was third row in 101, had a perfect view of it) but the pass from Stafford to Gagnon to set up the second goal was amazing, we wouldn't have scored if he didn't make that pass as perfectly as he did.
Rumor is that Gadz is out after an Emergency Appendectomy sometime prior to the the Houston game on the 6th. (I first heard it then.)ReplyDelete
I have more information on Gazdic's injury. I will be posting an injury report in a little bit here.ReplyDelete
Injury report posted. Check it out.ReplyDelete