|(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Episode IV: A New Hope
Coming off a three-game losing streak, Texas needed a good outing against a weaker opponent. The Checkers provided an opportunity to tune up before a big game against divisional opponent Ontario tomorrow.
"We had a good start to the game," said head coach Derek Laxdal. "We stuck to our system, had trust in our system and ran four lines hard."
Radek Faksa, who scored the game winner in
Gemel Smith had an excellent game overall and his line with Branden Troock and Derek Hulak provided the spark to take Texas to a 2-0 lead after twenty minutes.
Smith beat Drew MacIntyre rushing in with speed down the right wing side to open the scoring. Derek Hulak tipped a mid-speed point shot through the legs of MacIntyre for the 2-0 lead.
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Aside from a short two minute stretch in the second, Texas controlled the game. Two questionable tripping calls put the Stars on the 5-on-3 kill and the visitors made both count. Justin Shugg went first with his third of the year.
"[Muse] made a great save on the 5-on-3 but they got the rebound," explained Laxdal.
Trevor Carrick scored off a screen play and it was tied at two after two.
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Knowing they needed a strong effort in the third, Texas wasted no time restoring their lead.
Radek Faksa slipped one past MacIntyre glove side for the 3-2 lead just 16 seconds into the frame. Faksa, who had been skating with Shore and Stransky, started the period with Greg Rallo and Curtis McKenzie, a switch that provided the spark for the goal.
"It was a very important goal to score on that first shift," said Faksa. "It was a lucky bounce for me."
Justin Dowling potted a 2-on-1 goal with Jason Dickinson as the setup man two minutes later, and it was all Stars from there on out. To add to the excellent night, the Stars collected a power play goal, running themselves to a three-game scoring streak with the man-advantage.
"Sometimes power plays go through those stretches where they aren't clicking," said Rallo, who scored the goal. "It seems the last few games we've been getting what we needed."
The classic Rallo one-timer was a close-in shot this time, from the slot on what he called a broken play. "When they open up like they did tonight, a guy like Morin can find the seam pretty good and tonight he did."
The Stars added an empty net goal from Shore to close the scoring at 6-2. Texas now gears up for a big match against Ontario, who defeated San Antonio tonight in overtime.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Mangene, Bystrom, Kane, Evans, Ully (scratch)
Elie (day-to-day upper body)
Yes, Morin was at wing today. Laxdal said, "Sometimes when you have 3 high end skill guys on a line, it gets a little fancy. The past few games we ran it [that way] and it generated a lot of chances. I think it paid off tonight."
Derek Hulak left the game in the third. Expecting he might be out tomorrow with an upper body injury.
Today's attendance was 4,802.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Charlotte - November 20 2015