|(Photo Credit: Iowa Wild)|
Des Moines, IA - The Texas Stars continued their road dominance of division-rival Iowa Wild, notching their 5th straight win in Des Moines with a convincing 2-0 win, in front of 4,702 at Wells Fargo Arena on Friday night. The Stars, who were in complete control for the entirety of the game, saw goals from Riley Barber and standout rookie Matej Blumel, while netminder Matt Murray turned in a sterling performance, shooing away all 24-shots he saw to pick up his second career shutout.
Murray, who's only other career shutout also came at the expense of Iowa last April has saved 95-of-96 in this building, dating to last season.
Texas controlled the pace of the game from the get-go, only allowing 1 shot through the first ten minutes of the game. With Texas on the power play midway through the opening period, the Stars punctuated their early control when former Stars-killer turned Stars starter; Barber took a feed from defenseman Will Butcher and found the back of the net on a laser from the top of the right circle, giving Texas a lead that would never be in jeopardy. Captain Curtis McKenzie was also credited with an assist, giving him 140 in his illustrious Texas Stars career.
Texas finished the night 1-for-4 on the power play.
The Stars took their 1-0 lead into the first intermission having outshot Iowa 9-7 for the frame, yet likely feeling like their lead should have been bigger.
The second period went scoreless despite Texas having outshot Iowa 13-5 in the stanza. The Stars defense was stout, squeezing any opportunities out before they could even clear the neutral zone. While the defense was swarming, offensively they could not capitalize on the opportunities that they generated for themselves. Wild goalie Zane McIntyre showed his continued recent brilliance against the Stars, stopping them on every chance down the ice in a flustered middle frame.
Texas picked-up in the 3rd, right where they had left off, peppering McIntyre with vulcanized rubber repeatedly until 5:44 into the period when Tanner Kero found Blumel dashing through the slot while fighting off a high-low from the Iowa defenders to promptly five-hole McIntyre. The rookie winger has a goal in all 3 games this season, giving him 4 in his first glimpse of North American hockey.
After spending the first fifty-five minutes of the game unchallenged and in relative comfort, Murray had to finally get the hard hat on as he faced ten shots over the final 4:28, while also helping the PK unit to kill off their only time on the job Saturday, securing the victory and his first "W" & clean sheet of this young season.
Despite having been outshot 12-10 in the final frame, Texas managed to outshoot the Wild 32-24 for the night.
McIntyre finished with 30 saves on the 32 shots he faced, in what was the only real bright spot for the Wild.
The teams return to the ice Saturday night at 6 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.
Injuries, scratches and notes
Karow, Cecconi, Ducharme, Tufte (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 4,702.