|(Photo Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
Cedar Park, TX - The Texas Stars got a Ty Dellandrea hat trick, and Anthony Louis scored a pair of his own as the Stars used a four-goal second period to power past the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators affiliate) 6-5 in a shootout Friday night at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park.
The teams almost reverted to a feeling out process as the first period went ahead with each team getting a chance on the power play. Texas finally got on the board shorthanded late in the period when the Stars forced a turnover deep in their defensive zone. Ty Dellandrea came away with it, skated the length of the ice and beat Admiral's goalie Connor Ingram to his glove side, tying the game at 1-1 with 4:48 left in the period.
The momentum-building shortie, Dellandrea's first of the season, went for naught less than a minute later when Texas' Louis recovered an odd rebound off of a Milwaukee shot and immediately turned it over to Ads winger Egor Afanasyev. He fired it past Scheel's stick from the slot, erasing the momentum and giving Milwaukee a 2-1 lead that they would take to the intermission.
The second period however was all Texas. Louis made up for his error from the previous period and opened the scoring in the frame when he took a nifty drop-pass from Max Martin and ripped it past Ingram, catching the good side of the crossbar to tie the game 2-2 just 2:18 into the period. Martin's assist was just his second of the season.
The teams played balanced hockey over the next several minutes until midway through the frame. Officials missed a blatant call that saw Texas' Riley Tufte not only get crosschecked but wrestled to the ground. Milwaukee's Mathieu Olivier came away with the puck, skated right into the Stars zone and buried it past Scheel to retake the lead at 3-2 with just under ten minutes left in the second.
Then the fireworks began. Shortly after a huge save from Scheel, the Stars went on the offensive. Dellandrea scored a nifty goal when he took a Curtis McKenzie pass and slipped in under the defense, threw on the brakes in front of Ingram and banged it home for his second goal of the night. With 5:53 left in the period, the game was knotted at three each.
The ink hadn't even dried on the scoresheet when Louis found the net for the second time in the period. He took a rebound off Joe Cecconi's shot and fired into the yawning net to give Texas their second lead of the night at 4-3 with 5:06 left in the second.
Louis' two goals on the night gives him twenty on the season, good for second on the team, and also puts him at 42 points (20-22=42) on the season to co-lead the team in that category.
Seemingly unsatisfied to take a 4-3 lead to the intermission, and not to be outdone by Louis' antics, Dellandrea found a loose puck above the right circle and sent the hats flying. He slapped one past Ingram's stick side to give him his first career hat trick and the Stars a 5-3 lead that they would take to the break.
"You know I think it's a result of playing a lot of hockey in a short span," Coach Graham said of his team's recent second period success. "You know you mix in a lot of travel, you mix in a lot of games and I think despite mentally and physically preparing and being ready to go you know sometimes you do feel a little bit better than that second period."
Dellandrea's goals gave him 20 on the season, tying him with Louis for second on the team, while also extending the career-high for the third-year center.
"I think you know the hat trick jumps off the page, and everyone talks about it, but whether he scores or doesn't score I think he's played an excellent brand of hockey and he's been creating for us," Graham said of the former first rounder Dellandrea. "He's played a 200 foot game, and I think tonight was icing on the cake for really how he's played over several months."
Texas finished 1 for 3 on the power play Saturday night.
The teams skated scoreless over the first eight minutes of the final frame until noted Stars-killer Tommy Novak found the puck between the circles and beat Scheel to his glove side to cut the Stars lead to 5-4.
Moments after missing a high stick to the face of Frederik Karlstrom, the officials called Riley Damiani for a questionable delay of game to give Milwaukee their second power play opportunity of the night. Less than a minute into the advantage, former Stars captain Cole Schneider redirected an errant Novak shot from between the dots and beat a sprawling Scheel to knot the game at 5-5, silencing the crowd with just over four minutes left in the game.
Texas got what amounted to a makeup call to put them on the power play late in the period, but they were unable to do anything with and the teams headed to OT.
Neither team mounted much of an offense in the scoreless extra frame with Texas edging Milwaukee 3-2 in shots. The teams headed to the shootout, a weakness for Texas this season. They held a 1-5 record in the shootout before tonight.
Texas went first and saw goals from Louis and Kero while Scheel easily turned away both of the shots he saw in the shootout sending the 5,281 in attendance into a frenzy with the 6-5 win.
Scheel ended the night saving 23 of 28 in the win, raising raised his record to 8-7-6 on the season. Ingram saw his record fall to 25-14-6 while turning away 24 of 29.
Milwaukee's record moves to 31-23-4-4 with the shootout loss to remain third in the division.
With the win, Texas' record improves to 23-24-6-5 (57 pts/.491%) to remain sixth in the seven-team Central Division with 14 games left to reach the fifth and final divisional playoff spot.
"I thought guys picked each other back up nicely, and I think that's a part of what you need to do this time of year," Graham concluded.
The two teams square off again Saturday with the puck drop slated for 7:00 PM.
Injuries, scratches and notes
Khudobin (injury, out for season), Comeau (back injury, has not played)
Caamano, Kawaguchi, Lipanov, Rosburg (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 5,281.