|(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
The Stars opened the scoring on the very first shift. Captain Justin Dowling dished to Michael Mersch on the left wing side, where he polished off the play behind McCollum just 35 seconds in.
“We had a really good first shift,” said Texas head coach Derek Laxdal. “It gave us a lot of confidence. We’re pretty thin up front, and it was a really good start from Dowling’s line.”
Texas wasn’t done as Brad McClure stepped up to the plate. Texas management really likes him as a player and feels like he’s getting himself going in the way they expected with tonight’s output. He had 39 points in 42 games with the Steelheads before callup.
“Settling in a little bit and getting used to the pace up here took a couple games,” said McClure. “But I’m finding my stride and hoping to continue that.”
“We’re seeing some good things from him,” added Laxdal. “He’s got good poise with the puck and a head for the game. If he continues to score like that, he’s going to play. This is an opportunity for guys to step up and get a chance to play some minutes. ”
McClure was the beneficiary of a deft play by James Phelan, who protected the puck from the Milwaukee defense long enough to dish to his fellow rookie at the net.
Trying to spark something, Duncan Siemens looked for a fight with Adam Mascherin and actually clocked the Texas forward bareknuckled. Mascherin was not engaging, and Siemens found himself in the box. McClure stepped up again on the power play, backhand crushing on off the pass from the very same Mascherin.
“It was just back door there,” said McClure. “Mascherin made an unbelievable play, baited the goalie in and dished over to me.”
Milwaukee chipped away at the Texas 3-0 lead throughout the rest of the but was ultimately unable to mount a complete counter-assault. Yakov Trenin made it 3-1 after the end of forty, and Adam Helewka’s power play goal in the third made it close.
Laxdal noted that the late game hinged more on Texas taking too many penalties than Milwaukee generating a big push. “The big change for us wasn’t their play. We took too many penalties.”
Former Texas Stars coach and current Milwaukee head coach Karl Taylor would pull McCollum with 1:25 left in regulation, but nothing would come. Erik Condra drained one into the empty net for the final 4-2 score.
Texas is next in action on Friday against Chicago.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Laberge (upper body)
Payne, Naas (scratch)
Texas played Shane Hanna at forward tonight.
Tonight’s attendance was 5,166.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Milwaukee - February 27 2019