|(Photo Credit: Dale Woltman/Chicago Wolves)
Rosemont, IL - The Texas Stars picked up their fifth win in a row and their eighth in their last eleven games and moved into a tie for the Central Division lead, all while also breaking their "School Day Curse" with a 6-3 win over the Chicago Wolves (Carolina Hurricanes affiliate),
Playing the first of a daunting three games in three days, Texas got on the board first 5:12 into the opening period on the power play when Jacob Peterson took tape-to-tape-tape passes from Mavrik Bourque and Riley Damiani to make it 1-0 early. The early strike was Peterson's sixth goal of the season.
The Wolves tied the game at 13:30 when Dylan Coughlan fired one through traffic past Texas goalie Matt Murray to make it 1-1, but just 1:19 later, the Stars regained the lead when Riley Barber lit the lamp for his team-leading fourteenth tally of the season. Damiani picked up his second assist of the day while Matej Blumel was credited with the additional helper.
Texas kept the pressure on and padded their lead just 42 seconds later when Bourque picked up his third goal of the season when he took a Thomas Harley pass and banked a shot off of a Wolves defender and got it past Chicago goalie Zachary Sawchenko to make it 3-1 with 4:29 left in the opening period.
Chicago cut into the Stars lead late in the frame when Stelio Mattheos snuck one past Murray with 52 seconds left in the period to make it 3-2 Texas, a score the teams would take to the first intermission. The Stars outshot Chicago 13-6 in the first 20.
The teams settled in during the second period, skating scoreless until Logan Lambdin buried a one-timer past Murray with 4:40 left in the middle frame to knot the game at 3-3, but Texas reclaimed the lead just 1:19 later when Rhett Gardner took a Justin Ducharme dish and tapped one past Sawchenko to make it 4-3 Texas. Gardner's goal extended his personal point-streak to five games, while Ducharme's assist was his first point of the season.
Texas outshot Chicago 15-9 in the second, giving them a 28-15 advantage in that department through 40 minutes.
Seemingly not wanting to let the Wolves hang around much longer, Texas winger Marian Studenic did the dirty work in front of the goal and backhanded a loose puck past Sawchenko to give Texas some insurance at 5-3 with 11:20 left in regulation. Bourque put a cherry on the pie of this game with his second goal of the day on an empty netter to end the scoring at 6-3.
Texas finished the game outshooting Chicago 38-22 while also going 1-for-5 on the power play. The Stars' league-best penalty kill unit was a perfect 2-for-2 on the job, extending their streak to 31 consecutive successful kills.
Texas netminder Murray turned away 19-of-22 shots to earn his third straight win as he saw his record improve to 6-4-1. Sawchenko stopped 32-of-37 for the Wolves while taking his third-straight loss to the Stars.
Texas now heads to Des Moines, Iowa for games two and three of a "three-in-three" road set. The Stars open their weekend series against the Wild Friday night with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop.
Injuries, scratches and notes
Cecconi, Kero (scratch)
Rosburg (upper-body injury)
(Note: Cecconi was traded to Buffalo immediately after the game. Texas will receive Oskari Laaksonen in return)
Today's attendance was 14,204