|(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
Seeking to build a winning streak and continue their growth as a young club, Texas more than doubled up the visiting Iowa Wild 7-3 on Tuesday night at H-E-B Center. A combined six-goal first period sent Texas to the locker room up 4-2 after twenty and ended up being all they needed to emerge victorious.
"I think we just stuck to the process, you know, even in those losses," said Rhett Gardner postgame. "[We're] finally getting a few to go now and I think it's because we're playing the right way, playing good defensively and capitalizing on our opportunities."
Within the first four minutes, the Stars had already established the tone for night. Michael Mersch and Anthony Louis each scored to make it 2-0 even before the first media timeout. Texas had clearly found its offensive stride.
"We build some confidence off the weekend there against Rockford," said Coach Derek Laxdal. "I thought the guys carried the confidence forward here and you're getting a good start in the game."
Gerald Mayhew would get one back but almost as quickly Rhett Gardner and Joel L'Esperance scored within 37 seconds of each other to make it a 4-1 lead. Mayhew's second of the night made it 4-2 at the break and Texas was off to the races. Playing with the lead and answering back to Iowa's goals with some of their own was a difference tonight compared to the streak
"Obviously makes the game a lot easier if you're not chasing or squeezing the stick," said Gardner. "[You're] thinking about going down one and then you start thinking about the losing streak. So it's nice to get out to a lead and I thought we played really well with the lead."
The only marker of the second period came on a deft backhand by Joel Kiviranta, coming off a rebound. Texas lost Tanner Kero to a lower body injury in the period, and he would not return in the game. That put Coach Laxdal's three-line focus under a bit of pressure, but the team adapted well, shifting Diego Cuglietta up the lineup.
Things got rough in the third period as Mike Liambas hit Nick Caamano up high late in the period and earned a major, which Texas did not convert on. It didn't matter though, as the Stars had already put up a sixth and seventh goal, tying their total from the last game and their record for the season. Caamano was a target as he's put up three goals and five points in his last two games.
Rhett Gardner finished with three points and Nick Caamano scored a pair of goals. Emil Djuse and Reece Scarlett each had a pair of assists. Landon Bow was relatively untested, partly due to score effects, but finished with 26 saves on 29 shots.
Texas and Iowa face off again on Saturday night.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Point, Gleason, Mascherin, McClure, Felhaber (scratch)
Tonight’s attendance was 4,724.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Iowa - November 26 2019