Chase Wheatcroft scores his first (and second) pro goals in the victory
|Wheatcroft celebrates his first of the night (Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
It was not a typical Texas versus Milwaukee matchup as the two traditionally defensive-minded squads combined for ten goals with Texas coming out on top by a 6-4 final in Cedar Park this evening. It was the Stars' first home win of the young season. The two teams were tied after the second and the Stars won the period and the game, a strong sign for the young squad.
"We jumped right back on our toes," said head coach Neil Graham. "We came back with purpose in our game and scored in our third shift of the period."
Chase Wheatcroft, one of those youngsters, potted the first and second goals of his pro career, including the eventual game winner on that third shift of the third. Fredrik Karlström had two goals and an assist. Matej Blümel, Riley Damiani and Antonio Stranges all had two-point nights as well.
"We knew it was gonna be a dogfight," said Wheatcroft postgame. "When you get up a couple, they're gonna probably come back even harder and they did. It was good to get up on top and keep that lead in the third."
Logan Stankoven opened his account on the night early with a goal less than a minute in the game. It was a power play tally off the stick of McKenzie on the pass with an entry by Mavrik Bourque.
|Stankoven's opening goal|
Milwaukee answered right back, as they did throughout the night, with a backdoor tap-in from Anthony Angello. Texas restored the lead with Fredrik Karlström potting a goal off a pass from Matej Blümel below the goal line. Former Star Denis Gurianov then sent the puck to the crease for a rebound chance finished by Fedor Svechkov.
Riley Damiani put Texas up 3-2 to end the period with another power play goal, a tip off Antonio Stranges' shot from the left wing.
"It's two brand new teams," said Graham about the high-scoring first. "When you look at the forward groups, there's a lot of youth on both sides."
Chase Wheatcroft notched his first pro goal (and pro point) to open the second period as Texas took a 4-2 lead with his finish of Karlström's puck to the net.
From there, Milwaukee roared back. Defenseman Kevin Gravel notched his first of the year just 19 seconds after Wheatcroft's marker. Cal O'Reilly finished a long shift with a goal after Texas couldn't seem to clear out of their own zone to save their lives.
The Stars took a timeout.
Wheatcroft shared the message from the bench: "It's a 4-4 game. It's still pretty much 0-0 if you look at it, so we had them in a good spot. So we just kept rolling."
The home side finished the period and had a chance to collect the W with a win of the final twenty.
Once again, Wheatcroft played hero witih an early goal. Every Ad in the zone collapsed to the hashmarks in front of the net and Whatcroft was the lone man at the net to collect the rebound when Grosenick couldn't make the save.
"[Gavin] White just made a really good play to [Stranges], who hit the post and then there's was just a scramble from there. I got lucky it fell to my feet and I was able to put it in."
Then came the hard work. Texas would have to battle through 18 more minutes without ceding a goal to find the win.
"You have to be calculated in your decision making," said Graham of playing with the late lead. "The other team is going to press. They're going to probably take away time and space a half second quicker than you saw on the first 40.
"For our group to learn [how to] secure a win, especially a tight one... was a good moment for us."
Texas iced it with a Karlström goal into the empty net with 46 second left. Matt Murray was outstanding despite the four goals against, which would be deceiving if you did not watch the game. He had a few point blank chances and big kickout saves to keep Texas in the game, especially in the third.
The Stars get to try again for two more point as they continue their homestand with the Ads again tomorrow at 7 PM.
Bayreuther (out - ankle)
Tonight’s attendance was 5,791.