|(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
"It's a tough game to get through because your mindset is focused on the playoffs," said Coach Laxdal. "It was a trap game but we did enough to get the win."
The Moose played a loose game, similar to San Antonio on Wednesday, with nothing left to play for but pride and contracts. They could have easily been up by two late in the first if not for the efforts of Jack Campbell in net.
"For me personally, it was a good opportunity," said Campbell. "I was pretty fired up. I just tried to go out there and play my game and be calm and show my confidence level is high."
Late in the first, Texas broke open the scoring on a Mattias Backman shot that beat Eric Comrie high glove. Matej Stransky followed in the second and Manitoba was on its heels.
Stransky is one of the players Coach Laxdal has leaned on quite a bit in the last few weeks. The team is still working to figure out where to put him in the postseason lines, but the extra time has been very beneficial for him.
"It's been nice," said Stransky. "[Laxdal has] given me so much ice time and trusted me on the power play. It's been great for my confidence."
While the Stars did score two in the final frame, they probably had a few chances for even more. The team was playing a little loose itself with a lead against a lower-tier opponent.
Laxdal assessed, "[We were] a little less generous with passing in the game. I think we had 15 shots [at one point] but 25-30 chances to shoot the puck."
The Stars will look to remedy that in the playoffs.
Late in the third, Texas had a clean sheet for Campbell and a chance to give him the goose egg for his final game of the regular season. Unfortunately, Campbell got burned on a 50/50 play, coming out to play a puck that he said he thought was coming a lot quicker than it was. The late game ice slowed it down and gave Dan DeSalvo and chance to catch up and deposit it for the 3-1 marker.
Greg Rallo, a former Moose himself, would polish off the scoring into the empty net.
The Stars open the playoffs on Thursday at home against the San Diego Gulls.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Faksa, Ritchie, Johns (call up)
Shore, Ully, Troock (injury)
Evans, McMurtry, Army (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 6,863, a sellout.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Manitoba - April 16 2016