|(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
The Texas Stars are running on all cylinders as they end their home schedule, scoring seven tonight from players up and down the lineup. Only five skaters were without a point, making it a huge team victory.
"I think guys are starting to realize that we need to do everything as a team this year," said Ben Gleason postgame. "It's good as a team to understand, because we have a young team, that we got to get over that mountain to win games. And that's a big part about being pro in this league."
Texas made it a four-game point streak and got back to .500 hockey on the season with five games remaining. With the victory, Texas also secures the win in the season series with Tucson.
It was a good game for the scoresheet. Ty Dellandrea, Cole Schneider, Anthony Louis, Riley Damiani, Josh Melnick and Max Martin all had two points. Ben Gleason was plus-5, Louis plus-4 and Dellandrea and Schneider plus-3. Damiani's two point night put him back on top in the rookie scoring race with 31 points overall.
"Those were big goals and big moments [from Schneider's line]," said coach Neil Graham. "I thought that led the way, and everyone jumped on board. I thought that was a great job by those three to get us going."
Mavrik Bourque's professional debut was relatively quiet but strong overall. He had 3 shots in the game including a one notable each chance in the first and third and finished plus-2. He played on the power play despite not being able to get a practice in with the club.
"For such a young player I thought there was maturity in his game," said Graham of Bourque. "I think he did some really good things. He had poise with the puck, poise to make some plays on our exits. He had a couple great looks, and I was impressed."
Ty Dellandrea wasted no time getting things started in the first period, scoring on a deflection just 50 seconds in. Despite a Tucson goal at the halfway point, Cole Schneider and Anthony Louis would ensure the Stars left the period with a lead. Louis's goal was an excellent backhander as he tucked the puck just under the crossbar off the assist from Josh Melnick. With a goal in the first minute and last minute of the period, Texas had Tucson on the back foot after the first twenty.
Graham noted, "You're in the driver's seat when you get up a goal and then it helps put you in a good spot going into an intermission. Everyone talks about those being important minutes and everyone knows about them. It was obviously a big factor."
The lead stayed at two after forty with the clubs trading goals. Max Martin got his first goal of the season and first ever AHL goal. It was an unassisted goal that just rolled into the net behind Ivan Prosvetov.
Martin noted postgame that the big mini-camp two weeks ago was a key factor in getting this win, "We didn't really have any practice time [on the road]. Just morning skates. So to get back to the basics, get our speed up. Lock down some things, systematically, I think it just reassured to us that we're a good team we can play with anyone in this league."
The Stars extended the lead in the third period with Riley Damiani's tenth of the year. It came four seconds after a Stars power play expired. The game overall was lightly penalized with only six minutes assessed in total. Ben Gleason closed the scoring with a rebound effort to make it 7-2.
These two teams face again Saturday and Sunday to close the series.
Injuries, scratches and notes
Slaker, Felhaber, Stranges, Porco, Markison, L. Martin, Shea, Sholl (scratch)
Honka (personal leave)