Desrosiers Earns Second Career Shutout in 2-0 Texas Win Over Tucson

The Texas Stars scored twice in the second period to beat the slumping Tucson Roadrunners 2-0 on Friday night. Goaltender Phillippe Desrosiers, who has started the last four games for the recalled Landon Bow, continued his strong recent play and notched his second AHL shutout with a 29 save performance.
(credit: Texas Stars)
“I thought Phil was outstanding,” said Stars head coach Derek Laxdal. “I thought he made some timely saves for us, especially down the stretch there. I thought his rebound control was outstanding, and he’s played the last three or four games and played very well for us. Given us a chance every night.”

Desrosiers had been doing his part in the last three contests with a .932 save percentage, but two of them were losses on the road. Tonight, he was pleased with the full team effort. “It’s always good to get a win, but when you get a shutout, it’s even better,” he said. “Good job from the boys. A lot of blocked shots. I thought everybody bought in, and it was nice to see.”

With the call-up of Joel L’Esperance to the Dallas Stars on Friday, the coaching staff had to reconfigure a couple of lines. The third line, centered by Robbie Payne, was the best line for the Stars and created chances on virtually every shift.

“A lot of guys stepped up,” said Laxdal. “I thought the Payne line was outstanding. They probably could’ve had four or five goals.”

Payne was rewarded as he roofed one nearly eight minutes into the second period to pick up his first career AHL tally. His marker proved to be the game-winner. Forward Brad McClure tallied his first AHL point with an assist on the play.

“It’s been a long time to finally get that,” grinned Payne. “It’s been something I’ve been working for. Just a great feeling to get that off your back and finally get one in. Ready to keep going and get some more here.”

Winger Michael Mersch also reached his own personal milestone as he scored on the power play late in the middle frame to bring his career total to 100.

Desrosiers was right to give credit to his teammates. They mostly kept Tucson to the perimeter in the defensive zone and were quick to clear pucks. Early in the game, defenseman Niklas Hansson faced a 3-on-1 rush and played it perfectly, forcing the shot to far post, which gave Desrosiers the easy save.

Tucson forward Lane Pederson also clanged a post that’s still ringing from the slot late in the opening frame. Other than that, Desrosiers was flawless.

“Phil’s a great goalie,” said Payne. “He’s been working hard all year. He finally got an opportunity to play a few games in a row, and it’s really boosted his confidence. We kind of let him down a few times in the last couple of games, but he’s doing really well.”

The Stars had outshot the Roadrunners by a sizeable margin headed into the third period, but the ice tilted in Tucson’s favor from there. The Roadrunners completely controlled play and had the Stars on their heels. They outshot Texas 12-4 in the frame, but Desrosiers stood tall.

Late in the period, Tucson had a glorious chance to cut the lead in half as Michael Bunting stepped out of the penalty box. He found Jeremy Gregoire as the trailer near the slot, and Desrosiers came out confidently to challenge the shot.

“I’m not very big, so I have to challenge the shooter,” explained Desrosiers.

Laxdal noted the play: “I think they had Gregoire walking down the pipe, but [Desrosiers] came out and challenged the shot and controlled the rebound. At this time of year every shift counts, every shot block counts, every save counts. It was good to see our guys respond.”

Every win is big at this point of the season, and the Stars need to build as much positive momentum as possible if they are going to make a bid for the playoffs. The point isn’t lost on Payne. “We need to get wins here, we need to get points down the stretch,” he said. “We’re in a big playoff push, so it’s exciting to be in this situation where we can still have the opportunity to get in.”

The Stars complete the weekend set against the Roadrunners on Saturday at 7:00 PM CST.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Markison (lower body)
Nyberg, Phelan, Laberge (scratch)

Center Joel L’Esperance was recalled to the Dallas Stars just prior to the game.

Tonight’s attendance was 5,129.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Tucson - February 15 2019