|(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
If this is the way Dallas plays in Cedar Park, they'll be back every year.
It was a rout as the Stars dominated the visiting Coyotes for a 7-0 final. Goals from the kids and vets alike in front of a friendly sellout crowd made for a happy crew as the team heads home to Dallas for their matchup against Minnesota on Tuesday night.
"Looking at our lineups, we had the advantage," said Dallas head coach Pete DeBoer postgame. "But you still have to go and execute and I thought we did a real good job of that."
In what could be a Texas Stars preview, Dallas rolled a line of Logan Stankoven, Mavrik Bourque and Matej Blumel. It was an electric trio with two goals and four assists on the night.
"There's a lot of depth, and it goes deeper than even Bourque and Stankoven, but those guys are real good. This organization's really deep, and there's gonna be some real tough decisions to make. This Texas team is going to be full of young elite talent."
Stankoven had the line's two goals on the night, one at even strength and power play marker. "I'm just trying to do my best job to get to the net and create space for [my linemates]. Obviously, they're dynamic players and can find each other on the ice. So I tried to do my part to fit in as best as possible, and if I got a chance to shoot, then I shot."
Not to be outdone, another Texas preview line of Curtis McKenzie, Oskar Back and Antonio Stranges had two goals and two assists.
It took five minutes for either team to send anything at the net with Dallas getting the first shot and then extending it to a 6-0 advantage before Arizona notched their first. It was an early sign that was indicative of what was to come. Arizona was playing its second game of a back-to-back on the road and was outshot 50-11 in the affair.
After two momentum-building power plays, Dallas found the net on a rebound chance from Logan Stankoven. Matej Blumel dinged the iron on the far side, and Stankoven finished off the play as the puck trickled behind Ivan Prosvetov. The second assist went to linemate Mavrik Bourque.
The line nearly had a second goal late in the first as Prosvetov lost track of a bomb from Thomas Harley and Stankoven and Bourque swarmed.
The second period was where everything cracked open. The Stars uncorked four goals against the visitors.
First up was a feel-good goal from Texas captain Curtis McKenzie. He finished off a play from Antonio Stranges, knocking home a puck that floated out just beyond the paint. The fans knew the gravity of the moment as they gave a hearty cheer for the 2-0 goal.
"You heard the biggest cheers for the guys that came up through here," said DeBoer. "Even in the opening lineup, Thomas Harley and Ty Dellandrea. They remember those guys that played here and obviously Curtis Mackenzie's a fan favorite, got a big goal tonight."
The Stars poured it on as the period continued. Sam Steel scored off a wrister on an Arizona turnover to make it 3-0. Thomas Harley bored through Prosvetov's five hole to make it 4-0 and end the goalie's night.
Matt Villalta fared no better with Dallas' shooters. Antonio Stranges called for a stretch pass from Gavin Bayreuther midperiod and made it 5-0, which is where it would stand after two periods.
With a tired Coyotes squad and score effects in play, Dallas and Arizona skated to a less electric final frame. Scott Reedy scored on a rebound with assists going to blueliners Derrick Pouliot and Lian Bichsel. Logan Stankoven added his second of the night, a power play goal, with assists to more blueliners: Jordie Benn and Gavin Bayreuther.
Chris Gibson, who got the start and played forty minutes, collected the win with six saves on just six shots. Remi Poirier had an even lighter workload in twenty minutes of work, stopping five of five including a shorthanded breakaway.
Dallas plays next against Minnesota on Tuesday in Dallas. The Texas Stars open their 15th season on October 13th against Tucson in Cedar Park.