|(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
It probably didn't need to be so difficult, but two points are two points. Tonight's 4-3 overtime win for Texas put them back on the right foot as they start a four-game sequence against the Wild.
"I thought it was a complete effort tonight to be quite frank," said head coach Neil Graham. "It was one of those ones where [we] earned the two points."
The Stars let the Wild hang around all night and got bit on the power play to go down 3-2 with four minutes to go. However, the leadership crew stepped up. Cole Schneider tied it with 1.4 seconds left and Nick Baptiste was the overtime hero, extending his point streak to ten games.
"Players go through slumps and also times where you're really feeling it, " said Baptiste. "That's kind of one of those times for me. I'm just getting good areas and playing with tons of confidence. "
There is something about the matchup between these two clubs this year. They have never entered a third period with more than a one-goal lead either way.
"[The Wild] kind of hang around in games," he added. "I thought that tonight we were playing really well for a cold night but we couldn't really pull away."
Riley Damiani had a pair of assists, and Adam Mascherin had one. Those points vault them to two and four in league scoring, respectively.
Things got going quickly in the first as Iowa struck only 93 seconds in. The goal came off some blown defensive coverage. No one caught Damien Giroux sneaking down from the point to complete the play on the backside of Point. Remember that play because the Wild certainly did.
Graham diagnosed the early goals, "We know that they have some guys that are good around the net, and we lost a couple box-outs five-on-five early around the net."
Texas got the quick answer, however. Nineteen seconds elapsed before Riley Tufte scored his second of the year. Ben Gleason sent one to the net from the point and Tufte elevated it at the slot with a tip to knot things at one.
Iowa and Texas traded goals again in the second period. The Stars went first this time and early in the frame again. Riley Damiani distributed cross-ice to Thomas Harley for the 2-1 score. It seemed like Texas had the score in hand and control of the contest until that same play from the first bit them again. Calen Addison was the man lost in coverage this time, again down the right wing side to score back door.
Iowa looked to have taken the game away with a third period power play. Gabriel Dumont collected a rebound off the iron to make it 3-2 with just over four minutes left. Texas would have none of it as Cole Schneider scored for the first time in eight games, beating Rumpel with only 1.4 seconds left on the clock.
"I think we just knew we were running out of time and we had to get the puck to the net," said Schenider. "[Damiani] made a good play on it the clock and I got a stick on."
Overtime was mostly not dangerous until it was. Jake Slaker found a breaking Baptiste with a gentle and deft pass to just elude the Iowa defender. From there, it was all Baptiste as the forward rifled one through the wickets. It was Texas's 33rd shot of the night.
"I saw [Slaker] got the puck, and they were kind of coming towards me so I was able to just kind of just the zone and get away from them. [Slaker] put it right on my tape and I was able to just find a hole."
These two teams face off again tomorrow (and Friday and Saturday).
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Louis, Porco, Felhaber, Barteaux, L. Martin, M. Martin, Jurusik (scratch)