Texas Stars Top Iowa 2-1 Behind Kraws' 26 Save Pro Debut

(Photo Credit: Ross Bonander/Texas Stars)

Cedar Park, TX - Sparked by a 26-save effort from rookie netminder Ben Kraws making his professional debut, the Texas Stars skated to a 2-1 victory over the Iowa Wild in front of a sold out 6,778 at the H-E-B Cener at Cedar Park Saturday night. The sell out was the eleventh of the season for Texas, a new club record.

"We responded with compete and details and were on point today," Texas head coach Neil Graham said after the game.

Both backstops were outstanding in the game. Iowa's goalie Jesper Wallstedt was the only reason the Wild stayed in the game, but all eyes were on the rookie from Cranbury, NJ, playing on an ATO. Kraws was the star of the game; the Hobey Baker candidate took a shutout to the final 4:46 of the contest.

"Couldn't draw it up any better. Grateful to be here and have the guys play that hard in front of me - it was a great team win," Kraws said after the game. "I felt confident in my game so [there were] not many nerves coming in honestly. I just want to do my part to help the team get a win."

Frederik Karlström got the scoring started 8:03 into the first when he fielded a dish to the slot from Matej Blümel and fired it at the goal from the slot. The shot caught post, but it went off of Wallstedt's skate and over the goal line to give Texas the initial 1-0 lead.

Shortly after, Kraws fired up the bench as he made a pad save of a Greg Meireles shot only to see Meireles collect his own rebound. Meireles fired again, and Kraws reached across the crease and made the highlight-reel paddle save, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Texas took their 1-0 lead to the intermission having outshot the Wild 12-11 for the frame.

In the second, the Stars added to their lead when Emilio Pettersen scored his first goal with Texas. The newcomer, most recently with the Calgary Wranglers, stick handled through traffic and went bar down on Wallstedt to make it 2-0 with 12:08 left in the middle frame. Petterson's goal was the first by a Norwegian-born player in Texas' history.

The Stars smothering offense outshot Iowa 17-8 for the period, giving them a 29-19 advantage through forty as the teams headed to their respective room with Texas maintaining their 2-0 lead.

The teams played pretty much back-and-forth hockey for most of the third. It wasn't until late in the frame that either side saw paydirt. With Iowa playing 6-on-5 due to a delayed penalty, Kraws shutout was spoiled as Sammy Walker found a loose puck in front of the net and drove to the cage. His goal cut the Stars lead to 2-1.

But it wasn't in the stars for the Wild as this was Ben Kraws' night, and Texas skated on to the victory.

Both netminders were outstanding, earning stars of the game on either side. Kraws turned aside 26 of 27 shots to earn his first professional victory in his first pro start. Wallstedt made 36 stops on the 38 shots he saw, taking the loss that saw his record drop to 21-18-3.

With the victory, Texas improves their record to 30-28-4-2 (66 pts.) to remain in fourth place in the Central Division, five points clear of fifth place Manitoba and five points behind third place Rockford. Both the Moose and IceHogs have games in hand on the Stars.

Up next, Texas continues their six-game homestand with a pair against the Colorado Eagles on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both games are slated for a 7:00 P.M. puck drop.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches and notes
Stankoven (callup)
Romano, Haiskanen, Rassell, Kyrou, Poirier (scratch)
Stranges (injury, day-to-day)
Bäck (injury, week-to-week)
Reedy (out for the season - upper body)

Tonight's attendance was 6,778, the eleventh sellout of the season.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Iowa - March 30 2024