Texas Stars End Three-Game Skid With 3-1 Win Over San Diego

(Photo Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)

Cedar Park, TX - The Texas Stars returned home after a winless three-game road trip and enjoyed the home cooking as they outlasted the San Diego Gulls 3-1 in front of 4,708 at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park in a rare home Tuesday night matchup.

Texas got out on top first when Antonio Stranges took a Michael Karow feed and chipped a shot underneath Gulls netminder Tomas Suchanek as Stranges was cutting across the slot 8:49 into the game. Stranges' goal was the lone tally of the first, and Texas took a 1-0 lead to the first intermission having outshot San Diego 9-7 in the first.

The Gulls jumped right back in just 4:26 into the second when Nikita Nesterenko, on a breakaway, went to his forehand and lifted one past Texas goalie Matt Murray to knot the game at 1-1.

Texas jumped right back in and took the momentum when Keaton Mastrodonato gathered up a juicy rebound off a Stranges shot in front of the crease. Texas went up 2-1 with 6:55 left in the middle frame. The Stars were able to get out of the period unscathed and headed to their room having outshot the Gulls for the second straight period, this by a 10-7 margin, giving them an advantage of 19-14 through forty.

Despite close games being dicey for the Stars of late, Texas commanded the third period, outshooting the Gulls 12-4 in the process. While the Stars were unable to find paydirt during that time, San Diego kept it close.

San Diego got a chance late when Artem Grushnikov was called for a cross check with just over a minute left in regulation to send the Gulls to their first power play of the night. Already having gone empty net, the Gulls would get a chance on a 6-on-4 advantage with the Stars clinging to a one-goal lead with 1:18 left.

With Texas scrambling, Oskar Bäck made possibly the play of the game when he dropped and blocked a shot just above his defensive blue line. Mavrik Bourque scooped up the loose puck and buried it from the red line to ice the game and the final score at 3-1 with 21 seconds left.

Between the pipes, Murray turned away 17 of 18 to earn the win, improving his record to 12-10-2-1. Suchanek steered off 28 of 30 while seeing his record fall to a still stellar 11-4-3-2.

Up next, the teams close out the series with another rare Wednesday night game in Cedar Park. The teams are scheduled to face off at 7:00 P.M.

Tonight's lines:

Grushnikov-J. Murray

M. Murray

Injuries, scratches and notes
White (scratch)
Bayreuther (out - ankle)
Berard, Reedy, Caamano (out - upper body)
McKenzie (injury, lower body out until late March/early April)

Tonight's attendance was 4,708

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Diego - February 27 2024