|(Credit: Derek Sparta/Texas Stars)|
"It was emotional," said Gurianov of the hat trick postgame. "My teammates did a really good job getting passes to me."
Gurianov benefited from a line changeup from Coach Laxdal midway through the contest, sliding Gurianov to a line with Brian Flynn and Roope Hintz, matching speed with speed. It paid off in spades.
"I thought it would be a spark," said Laxdal. "He's really coming along here in the last month. Now he's stringing shifts together and games together. We need him to step up and score goals with [Jason] Dickinson in the NHL and [Curtis] McKenzie hurt."
The variety of Gurianov's goals was also remarkable as he scored on a breakaway, on an established zone one-timer and on a one-timer off the rush. "He can score all sorts of ways," noted Laxdal.
Not to be lost among the offensive accomplishments was the night that Philippe Desroisers had. Just 24 hours ago, he was on a plane to Austin and tonight he netted his first AHL start and win of the season, stopping 23 of 24.
"I was at morning skate [in Boise] and I went home and tried to cook food for pregame. [Coach Graham] called me and said, 'You gotta go'. I said, 'Are you serious?', threw all my food in the fridge, packed up, and I was here at midnight."
It's the exact sort of situation that the Quebec native has been preparing for all season, "I work so hard down there to be ready for this. My only goal all summer was to play another game in the AHL. I'm proud to be here tonight."
Laxdal complimented the performance, "We're trying to get a look at him and to battle for a playoff spot. To put him in and play and win, it's important for his confidence and for the organization."
As mentioned, the game started slow with Texas scoring a power play goal in the first and San Antonio evening things late in the second.
Gurianov's first goal was the breakaway, unassisted. "I got good speed and, on the goal, I went forehand to backhand. I was driving the net, and I shot it and scored. I got lucky a little bit but it was nice."
It would end up being the game-winner, but the Stars weren't done. Gurianov ripped home a one-timer off the pass from Tommy Thompson six minutes later for the 3-1 lead. Austin Fyten dropped in a trickling five hole shot that beat Ville Husso for the 4-1 lead at 12:20, and the air was out of the Rampage bench.
To seal things, Roope Hintz and Gurianov barreled in on Husso in the game's final minutes and Gurianov drove home a pass from the right wing circle for the 5-1 final.
With the win, Texas vaults to second place again in the Pacific. The Stars have a significant break until their next game on February 9th when the Tucson Roadrunners come to town.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Paliotta, O'Brien, Kelleher (scratch)
Bow, Dickinson, Heatherington (call up)
Tonight's attendance was 6,442.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - February 3 2018