Stars Shutout Moose to Cap Day of Celebrations, Advance to Face Milwaukee

Remi Poirier stops all 41 against to earn the win

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)

The Texas Stars had every reason to celebrate this evening; take your pick.

Logan Stankoven was named the league's Rookie of the Year. Mavrik Bourque was named the league's MVP. And, also, the Stars swept the Moose out of the playoffs with a 2-0 shutout win at home. 

Coach Graham said that he'd let the team celebrate for an hour after the Game 1 win. This evening, he's generously allowing two. "I'm proud of them. We knew it was gonna be a real hard series; it's a really good opponent. For us to play the way we did for two games, it's a sign of good things moving forward."

With the W, Texas moves on to face Milwaukee in a best-of-five series that opens in Cedar Park Thursday and continues Saturday before switching to Wisconsin for the remainder of the series.

In a day that celebrated the Stars' offensive prowess on the season, goalie Remi Poirier brought his A game to Game 2, stopping all 41 and earning his first professional playoff shutout. The Moose were relentless in pursuit, especially in what felt like an onslaught of a second period that saw the visitors vault 16 shots on net.

"The most important game in a series is the close out, always really really hard," said Poirier. "Last weekend was not great. ... I think that was great for me get the confidence back after last weekend."

Fredrik Karlström was the other man of the evening on the ice with both of Texas' goals, both on the power play. It was an especially meaningful night for the Swede, who injured his knee late last season and missed all of the playoffs. It was also a good sign for Texas' chances to go deeper in the playoffs as Manitoba held the top line off the scoresheet but others activated in their place.

"It was huge for me to play every single game in the regular season with the injury that I had," said Karlström. "Right now it feels really good and hopefully it keeps going"

Karlström's first of the night was a shot from the dot as he snuck down from the point on the man advantage in the first period. Justin Hryckowian had the screen on the play, taking away Thomas Milic's vision. Hryckowian also had a part to play in the second power play goal, dishing to Karlström in the slot from below the goal line, Karlström backhanded the puck over the glove of Milic for the 2-0 score.

Graham complimented the way Hryckowian has slid into the lineup as a reliable center, noting that it allowed the team to put players in their proper positions after injuries forced players who aren't centers to man the dots before his arrival.

Texas then did something they've found in glimpses and flashes all year: they completely shutdown their opponent in the final frame. They were outshot 11-5 in the third. Remi Poirier said no. The Stars defense said no. It was a top-to-bottom effort to lock down the zero.

"Earlier in the season, we struggled a little bit with that third period lead. A couple of times the other team came back," said Poirier. "I think it's my job to do [make big saves] to keep the team in there."

Poirier had a chance to demonstrate that momentum shift with a breakaway shorthanded stop on the power play. Poirier noted, "I think the key point was that breakaway save.... After a couple minutes later, we scored so that's a ... momentum change at that point. "

Texas will look to continue its forward momentum against Milwaukee starting Thursday.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches and notes
Stankoven, Pouliot, Murray (callup)
Gardiner, Bertucci, MacDonnell, White, Wheatcroft, Haiskanen, Romano, Stranges (scratch)
Reedy (out for the season - upper body)

Tonight's attendance was 4,422.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Manitoba - April 24 2024