Saturday, November 10, 2018

Texas Stars Crush Rampage 8-1 with Balanced Attack

Erik Condra scores again (Credit: Taylor Sammarco/Texas Stars)
If you start strong, you’re going to have a much easier night. Texas took to that playbook in a ig way this evening with a four-goal opening frame en route to an 8-1 final over the visiting San Antonio Rampage. Erik Condra netted a hat trick, and Justin Dowling had a four-point night in the win.

“We had a good week of practice,” said Coach Laxdal. “We had a tough last couple weeks, and it was good to see our guys respond and implement the things we worked on.

Before the game, the Stars were hurting for defensemen with the recall of Ben Gleason to Dallas being the third of their blue liners to head up I-35. The return of Gavin Bayreuther was a welcome sight for the club, and he made his presence known on the evening, generating a goal and an assist, both with his cannon of a shot from the blue line. He joked before the game to his teammates that he was the vet on defense, despite only being in his second season.

“I was hurt, but you learn a lot watching,” he noted. “It was awesome to come out today and have that punch right away. It was a great feeling and got my confidence up early on.”

Landon Bow might have had a cushion, but he still came up with some stellar saves in the contest. He had one of the best save sequences of the game in the second period as Jordan Nolan broke in alone shorthanded. Bow stoned Nolan on the initial shot and his rebound to keep the score at 5-1 at the time. He finished with 30 saves on 31 shots.

Bayreuther’s aforementioned cannon got things started in the first period. Just 51 seconds in, Erik Condra tipped his shot for the 1-0 score. Colton Hargrove went next, the beneficiary of a lifted stick sending the puck unexpectedly away from the control of Joel L’Esperance.

In short order late in the frame, the Stars made their 6th-ranked power play sing with a pair of tallies. L’Esperance lifted one over Ville Husso first, off the assist of Roope Hintz and Justin Dowling. Then, Bayreuther got one of his own from the point. Ville Husso’s night was done after the period, stopping 9 of 13.

“We have a pretty experienced group, two [power play] units we can put out there,” said Laxdal. “Having Dowling back settles our group down. It gives us three centers down the middle. It’s nice to have parts to continue to plug and play.”

The Rampage got one back to start the second period on a slick play. Cross ice and through traffic, Jordan Nolan found Jakub Jerabek sneaking down from the point. The defenseman hit the corner for the 4-1 mark. Justin Dowling would not let that stand long, tipping John Nyberg’s casual shot past Binnington.

In a game that was already 5-1, it’s hard to believe that you could say things got more out of hand in the third period, but indeed they did. Erik Condra potted two more to complete a hat trick, and it was clear the wheels had completely come off the bus when Colin Markison wrapped around for the 8-1 marker. Binnington seemed resigned to his fate that it would be a goal almost before Markison collected the rebound to head around the net.

Condra, who last netted a hat trick in Syracuse in February 2017, noted that the veterans were key to the victory in terms of doing the little things right. “It started with us. We weren’t playing the right way. No one is going to do the right thing if the leaders aren’t doing that. It’s about us leading them to do the right thing.”

The veteran line of Morin, Dowling and Condra combined for nine points on the evening, so the right thing paid off this evening.

Texas hits the road, literally, tomorrow to play the Rampage in San Antonio with a matinee start time of 3 PM.

Tonight's lines:
Morin-Dowling-Condra
Markison-Hintz-Caamano
Mascherin-L’Esperance-Hargrove
Laberge-Phelan-Payne

Nyberg-Bayreuther
Norrish-Hanna
Vala-Hansson

Bow

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Mersch (lower body)
Gleason, Gurianov, Heatherington, Hanley (callup)
Pearce, Fedun (scratch)

Tonight’s attendance was 6,863, a sellout.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - November 10 2018

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