Friday, March 29, 2019

Texas Vaults Back Into Playoff Spot With 5-2 Win Over Wild

For the moment, the Texas Stars are in possession of fourth place in the Central division as they beat the Iowa Wild 5-2 in the first game of a weekend pair. After the Wild scored twice in the first period, the Stars displayed a classic case of desperation and controlled the rest of the way, rattling off five unanswered goals. Three of the Stars goals came on the man advantage as they finished 3-for-4.

Recent ATO signing and Dallas Stars draft pick Rhett Gardner scored his first professional goal in the second period and tallied a helper to boot. Forwards Colin Markison and Adam Mascherin also had a goal and an assist each, and Niklas Hansson scored an insurance goal in the third period. Michael Mersch added yet another power play goal to seal the deal.

Rhett Gardner's first professional goal
(credit: Iowa Wild)
It took a whole period for the Stars to wake up and crank up the urgency. The Wild had two goals in the opening frame just over a minute apart. Eleven and a half minutes in, the Stars gave the Wild their first man advantage of the game and Gerald Mayhew had a tip-in from the slot.

The next Iowa tally came from Kyle Rau when Phil Desrosiers went down hard in traffic and Rau had a wide open net. There was no replay for goaltender interference, much to the chagrin of head coach Derek Laxdal. Desrosiers finished with 24 saves.

The Stars took over from there. Mascherin kicked off the scoring blitz by following up his own rebound after it bounced off a defender. His second attempt caught the post and went in less than three minutes into the second period. Markison tied the game about six minutes later when his power play attempt trickled past goaltender Andrew Hammond.

With less than three minutes left in the middle frame, Markison set up Gardner in front of the net to give the Stars the go-ahead goal.

The life sucked out of the Wells Fargo Arena, the Stars had only to search for the insurance goal in the third period. They found two. Eight minutes in, Hansson found the five hole on his power play goal, and Travis Morin absolutely dimed up Mersch seven minutes later to top off the 5-on-4 scoring.

As of now, the Stars have leap-frogged the idle Milwaukee Admirals for the final playoff spot. The Ads do have a game in hand over the Stars, but Texas can really pressure Milwaukee with a win over Iowa tomorrow night.

Tonight's lines:
Mersch-Morin-Condra
Gurianov-Melnick-Caamano
Hargrove-Gardner-Markison
McClure-Dellandrea-Mascherin

Bayreuther-Hanley
Heatherington-Hansson
Gleason-Cecconi

Desrosiers

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

Tonight’s attendance was 8,629.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Iowa - March 29 2019

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