Stars Stretch Streak to Seven with 3-1 Victory in Iowa

(Credit: Tim Garland/Iowa Wild)

In the final game of their 3-in-3 midwestern swing, the Texas Stars extended their winning streak to seven games with a 3-1 scoreline over the host Iowa Wild.

It hasn't been very long since the Stars swept a 3-in-3 series, but it's still exceptional in its rarity. Texas last dominated a trio of games in three days on April 1, 2, and 3 last season. It may feel too early to be talking about the standings, but a look at the division race has Texas and Milwaukee at the head of the pack. As the Stars come home for two more before the holiday break, they sit atop the division as Milwaukee has three games in hand.

With their three goals tonight, the Stars were the first team to cross 100 goals on the season as they sit #1 in that mark across the entire AHL at 101. Riley Barber, who scored his 15th of the season tonight, sits tied third in league goal scoring. Among other superlatives, Rhett Gardner is tied for first in league plus-minus at plus-17. Alex Petrovic sits fourth at plus-15, and Ryan Shea is just behind him, tied for seventh at plus-14.

But enough about the gaudy numbers; there was a game tonight as well.

Iowa did not start well in the contest, hitting the net only twice in the first frame. The Stars struck first at even strength with Tanner Kero's sixth of the year, assisted by Petrovic and Riley Damiani. The pressure in the minutes leading up to the goal was relentless by Texas and the score felt almost inevitable. The play was a bit of a fluke as the original pass by Barber was either mishandled or deliberately deflected by Damiani to Petrovic at the point. Kero tipped the shot for the score.

Iowa evened things in the second period late. With Steven Fogarty occupying most of Matt Murray's vision, Marco Rossi was able to slip one in five-hole from tight range. It was a goal that you hate to give up: late in the period to an opponent you are clearly dominating. It would be just enough in many situations to steal momentum and allow the home side to steal points.

Texas would not settle for that outcome. With Rossi in the box for tripping Michael Karow, a call he vehemently disagreed with, the Stars went to work. It didn't take long as Barber found twine off the first rush with assists to McKenzie and Will Butcher.

The Stars would salt this one away with an empty net goal from McKenzie in the final minutes. A mishandle by Nic Petan sent Oskar Back down the ice with McKenzie. Marian Studenic was right with them to support just in case.

Texas takes the weekend and heads home for a pair of rare back-to-back weeknight games before the Christmas break. Rockford comes to town for a 7 PM start on Tuesday.

Tonight's lines



Injuries, scratches and notes
Laaksonen, Ducharme (scratch)
Rosburg (upper-body injury)

Tonight's attendance was 5,001

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Iowa - December 17 2022