Saturday, December 29, 2018

Strong Second Period Vaults Stars Over Reign 5-1

Big win is sixth straight W at home for Texas
(Credit: Texas Stars)
The middle frame has been a middling affair for the Stars so far this season, but that was not the case tonight at home. Texas scored three in the second period en route to a 5-1 win over the visiting Ontario Reign. Goals came from five different scorers, and all four forward lines participated in the scoring.

"It's just fun when you get everyone involved," said Colin Markison, who scored the first goal of the night. "The ice tilts a bit toward their end, and they feel the pressure. That's the way every team wants to play."

"Getting scoring up and down your lineup is key," added head coach Derek Laxdal. "Last game we had three defensemen score. Tonight, we've got our forwards back on the board."

With injured players recovering in Dallas, Texas is also driving success from the backend out. Ben Gleason and Gavin Bayreuther, who have both spent time in Dallas this year, were paired tonight and each had a primary assist that came off a booming shot. Joel Hanley had two great chances in the third and scored on one of them.

An excited Laxdal noted, "We're starting to get our D-corps back, and you're getting a chance to see what it's really going to look like. It makes a big difference moving pucks."

The win was Texas's 6th straight at home. Markison broke down their success in three areas: "We try to approach every game the same way. We're getting great goaltending. We're finding ways to win."

Markison scored his fifth of the year on an individual effort. He deflected a Reign pass into the neutral zone, collected it and put it past Budaj to open the scoring.

"I thought that [Reign] line brought good energy that shift," said Markison. "Once we took a step back and starting reading it, I just found an opening and it worked out there."

The Texas power play got a boost from the reassignment of Gavin Bayreuther, and it came in handy on the second power play of the game. Bayreuther's point shot found its way through Budaj's legs, leaving a loose puck behind him in the crease. Colton Hargrove tapped it in for his seventh of the year and the 2-0 lead.

Just two minutes later, Justin Dowling had an individual effort of his own. He pressured puck carrier Daniel Brickley in his own zone, forced a turnover and then, from behind the net, deflected one off Brickley's skates in behind Budaj.

The third period saw Texas collect two more but give up the shutout bid late. James Phelan picked up a rebound off Ben Gleason's point shot and Joel Hanley scored sneaking down from the point to make it 5-0. Ontario found twine on a pass from behind the net late in the third, which shouldn't be seen as a huge black mark on Landon Bow's otherwise outstanding night. Bow kept Texas in the game in the first before the offense activated.

"He made great saves throughout the game in timely periods," said Laxdal. "He's taken a step in his development and he's our go-to guy."

Texas finishes 2018 on the road with a game in San Antonio tomorrow at 5 PM.

Tonight's lines:
Morin-Dowling-Condra
Mersch-L'Esperance-Mascherin
Hargrove-Caamano-Naas
Laberge-Phelan-Markison

Gleason-Bayreuther
Heatherington-Hanley
Hanna-Hansson

Bow

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Nyberg, Point, Payne (scratch)

Tonight’s attendance was 5,918.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Ontario - December 29 2018

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