|(Credit: Mollie Kendall/Texas Stars)|
Texas evened the weekend series with San Jose in a game they never trailed tonight at home by a 5-3 final. The Stars got the offensive play they wanted last night and the start as well, earning the first goal and seeing themselves break four tie scores to win the game.
"We got some pucks into some scoring areas with better numbers for second opportunities," said Neil Graham. "Our compete and tenacity was much better [than last night]."
The Stars took it to the Barracuda more offensively in the contest tonight than they were able to last night. That made it all the more frustrating that San Jose was able to hold on to the 3-3 tie through two periods despite being outshot 28-16.
Tomas Sholl collected his first AHL win, stopping 26 of 29. It has been a long road for Sholl to this point, and the significance of the moment meant a lot to him. Graham called him a consummate professional and a good teammate.
Sholl himself added, "It's a really awesome feeling. This is my fourth year pro. A lot of hard work has gone into it to crack the roster up here."
It was Texas striking first this evening after last night's 0-2 start. The goal was Joe Cecconi's first pro goal, and it came as he just flung it at the net from the right half-wall, a lucky example of the good things that happen when you send pucks at the net. "It took longer than expected", said Cecconi, laughing. "Just a quick shot to the net, and everyone was happy for me."
It wouldn't last long as two minutes later Thomas Harley had a puck stolen from him at the offensive blueline and Jake McGrew finished off the play to make it 1-1.
Ben Gleason got his first of the year just deflecting a puck off his skate and past Harvey on a pass from Nikita Scherbak. On the next shift, San Jose tied it up.
Riley Damiani was the engine for the Stars' third goal. He jumped a route and read a pass out of the Barracuda zone, diving right back into the zone with the puck. He had the vision to find a wide-open Anthony Louis for the one-timer.
Damiani described the goal, "I came off the bench and I saw an opportunity to jump the puck. Scherbak freed up a lane in the middle driving the net. Louis had an unbelievable one-timer. I don't know many guys that connect with that and put it where he did."
San Jose got the only goal of the middle frame. Blichfield beat Sholl as the goalie couldn't get to the left iron, and Julius Honka couldn't get the puck off the skater's stick.
Cole Schneider collected his second in as many games in the third period to put Texas up for good. Josh Melnick looped around the net counter-clockwise, waiting to distribute to Schneider in the left circle for the go-ahead goal.
Tomas Sholl locked the door for the frame, stopping all 13 shots from SJ. Sholl noted, "Even though I haven't played at this level, I've played in a lot of close games at the professional level. I just needed to make the one or two big saves that were going to push us over the edge."
Thomas Harley finished off the scoring as San Jose shot themselves in the foot in the final two minutes, going on a penalty kill and pulling their goalie to attempt the comeback. Harley scored an empty-net power play goal, his second career goal.
The Stars play in their second rubber game in as many 'series' on Tuesday night in Cedar Park.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Shea, Slaker, Porco, Moutrey, L. Martin, M. Martin, Jurusik (scratch)