Texas Uses Strong First to Surge Past Condors 3-2

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
After a first period to forget on Saturday, Texas flipped the script tonight to start the game. A goal just two minutes in followed by a second ten minutes later put Texas on pace to overcome the visiting Bakersfield Condors 3-2 this evening.

"It's a sign of a team that's growing," said Coach Derek Laxdal. "I liked the start to the game and how we caught them sleeping a little bit."

Tony Calderone and Adam Mascherin each had a goal and an assist from the other, a combination that is clicking right now with Colton Hargrove on the opposite wing. "They just worked hard forechecking. You see guys guys get cute and that fuels [Bakersfield's] offense. It's a mindset and attitude."

The game wasn't without difficulty, however. Landon Bow both came up big and needed a bit of luck in the middle frame to get things done. Several early period 2-on-1s misfired for the Condors, and a couple more shots rose a bit too high on Bow.

"They had about three rushes where we got guys stuck at the blue line or on the halfwall. Bow made some big saves at critical times. When you're up two goals, that third goal is huge. After the nine minute mark [of the second], we tightened up."

Texas opened the scoring with a power play marker. Ben Gleason rifled one from the blue line through traffic and past Bako's Shane Starrett for the 1-0 score. Perhaps looking to inject some emotion into a sleepy game, Sam Laberge and Jake Kulevich dropped the gloves just over a minute later.

Tony Calderone got his second of the season to extend the lead halfway through the period. Adam Mascherin won a one-on-one battle against Keegan Lowe in the slot and got the initial shot off. Calderone put back the rebound.

Bakersfield would get one back as Landon Bow found himself outside the blue paint after a bad bounce off the end boards ended up in the slot for an easy score by Josh Currie.

But Calderone's night wasn't over as he was instrumental in the Stars' third period insurance goal. Pressure on Luke Esposito followed by an outright strip of Tyler Benson led directly to Adam Mascherin's 14th of the year, as you can see below.

"I saw the guy fumbling it and I was able to catch him," said Calderon. "Mascherin made a good turnaround shot quick, and the goalie wasn't ready for it."

The Condors scored one more late to make it interesting, a 6-on-5 tally with 18 seconds left in the third. The Stars tightened up for the final 18, not allowing a shot, to seal the win. It was their eighth in the last nine home games. Landon Bow improved his record to 15-5-4 with 28 saves on 30 shots.

Texas continues their busy stretch with a pair of games this weekend, starting with Rockford on Friday.

Tonight's lines:



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

Texas assigned Robbie Payne to Idaho before tonight's game.

Tonight’s attendance was 4,053.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Bakersfield - January 9 2019