Jake Oettinger's Strong Debut, McClure's Hat Trick Lead Stars Past Wild 4-1

The Texas Stars finished a weekend sweep of the Iowa Wild with a 4-1 win in goaltender Jake Oettinger's professional debut on Saturday. With his family having flown out to Des Moines for the game, the former Boston University Terrier turned in a tidy 23 saves on 24 shots.

Winger Brad McClure paced the Stars in scoring with a natural hat trick in the third period giving the former Idaho Steelhead seven goals in his brief AHL stint. For the Stars, it was the second natural hat trick of the season, the first from Colton Hargrove last week. Nick Caamano scored the other goal for the Stars in the second period.

(credit: Iowa Wild)
The Stars have had the Wild's number all season long, finishing with 7-0-0-1 record against their divisional foes. For Iowa, the loss gives them five straight and has them suddenly looking over their shoulder in the playoff standings.

The first period was low event hockey, which helped Oettinger get his feet wet. The Stars went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and held the Wild to seven shots on goal. Oettinger only had to make one high danger save, which earned him a stick-tap to the pads from Denis Gurianov.

In the first two periods of play, Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen was equally as strong as Oettinger, if not moreso. It took twenty shots on net to finally pierce his armor. Eight minutes and change into the middle frame, Caamano squeaked one by Kahkonen for his eleventh goal of the season. Rookie center Josh Melnick had the assist on the play.

Oettinger's lone mistake in the contest happened in the second period when he played the puck just outside of the trapezoid. It was a reasonable mistake from the rookie as the trapezoid doesn't exist in the college game. The penalty was followed up by a hooking call on Erik Condra, giving the Wild over a minute of 5-on-3 play.

The Stars managed to kill the 5-on-3, but just after the 5-on-4 expired, Dmitry Solokov found just enough daylight to skitter through the slot and tie the game up.

McClure took over from there. Nearly ten minutes into the third period, Travis Morin got tied up with Nate Prosser behind the play, prompting Prosser to throw punches as Morin was falling to the ice. The resulting 4-on-4 play gave McClure the open ice to dig a puck out of the corner and bury his first goal from the slot.

Less than two minutes later, Adam Mascherin set McClure up in the slot once again for a one timer. McClure's final feat came with two and a half minutes left in regulation with a wraparound goal. Mascherin was once again awarded the primary assist.

The Stars will mostly sit idle this week while their competitors for the final playoff spot, Milwaukee and Manitoba, will have chances to catch up. For now, the Stars are still in fourth place with the aid of a bunch of ATO signings. They will next play at home against Grand Rapids on Friday.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Laberge (upper body)
Nyberg, Hanna, Cuglietta (scratch)

Tonight’s attendance was --.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Iowa - March 30 2019