|(Credit: Mollie Kendall/Texas Stars)|
In the exact same situation as the previous evening, up 3-2 after forty minutes, Texas pulled this one out, locking the game down to hold the victory over Iowa. The Stars collected their fourth win of the year and continued their odd pattern of 'win one, lose one'.
"You know we're not happy with losing any game and that kind of drove us today and took this as a game seven approach," said Tye Felhaber postgame. "You know, every little series is kind of like playoffs and, you know, you dropped one, you want to get the next one."
Coach Neil Graham contrasted tonight with last night, "We were moving our feet; we actually drew some penalties. You know, we pressured pucks, and I thought they obviously made a push and they got some looks, but for the most part, we did a pretty good job of limiting chances to the outside."
Speaking of those chances, Tomas Sholl got his second AHL victory, stopping 26 of 28. None of those were more important than the six he halted in the final frame.
"He's a guy that takes pride in team results and as the game gets in tougher situations, he seems to thrive. I thought tonight was no different. We saw their goaltender make some of those saves last night and it was great to see our group respond. He made some big saves in timely moments."
Iowa's potential comeback was stymied by their march to the penalty box in the third. While Texas didn't score, they enjoyed the man advantage for six of twenty minutes.
Joe Cramarossa opened the scoring for Iowa after Texas had an outlet pass get intercepted in neutral ice and come back against them. Texas got it back within a few minutes as Nick Baptiste potted his second of the year, a tap-in on the backdoor that came with effort as he had to fight through the Wild defender to get to the puck.
Iowa would take a lead to the intermission on a power play goal with eight seconds left in the first. Gabriel Dumont was the beneficiary of a bouncy puck as Damien Giroux's initial shot deflected off the skates of Connor Dewar and directly to his stick.
The Stars took it to the Wild in the second, scoring the frame's only two goals and claiming their first lead of the night. Both were deftly generated by Riley Damiani, who continues to lead the team in points. Adam Mascherin scored his team-leading fourth goal off Damiani's assist, finding him in the slot off the half-wall to tie the game under two minutes in.
Damiani again generated the go-ahead goal for Texas with a slick pass. Looking shot the whole way coming off a power play, Damiani found Tye Felhaber on the backside. Felhaber made no mistake for his third of the year.
"[Damiani's] hockey IQ and his mind for the game is very good," commented coach Graham. "He is a smaller player on paper, but it doesn't affect his game. He has the ability to make poised plays like that pass to Felhaber as the powerplay was expiring."
Tomas Sholl came up big in the final frame, having to stop just six shots but all of them arguably of high quality. Iowa got about 90 seconds of 6-on-5 time at the end of the game, but it wasn't enough to overcome Sholl. The Stars had already drained a lot of energy from the Wild with three power plays in the period and six in the game.
"It's a credit to the power play guys, the awareness they have," finished Baptiste. "Yea, we might not score, but it can tilt the momentum our way."
Texas now heads to Tucson for the first games between those two clubs this season. The first game of the series in Wednesday.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scherbak, Porco, Markison, Tufte, L. Martin, M. Martin, Jurusik (scratch)
Texas rolled 11-7 tonight.