Brad McClure’s Natural Hat-Trick Powers 4-1 Stars WinMar 30, 2019
Dahill Office Technology Corporation Three Stars:
DES MOINES, Iowa – The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, took their seventh straight win over the Iowa Wild this season in a 4-1 decision and have taken victories in each of the last three contests. Texas winger Brad McClure scored three straight goals in the third period while the Stars defense put together a strong effort in front of Jake Oettinger who made 23 saves in his first career start.
McClure scored his first of three just before the halfway mark of the third period to give Texas a 2-1 advantage. The rookie cut into the zone while skating at 4-on-4 play before letting a shot go in the right circle. The shot flew past Kaapo Kahkonen on the blocker side and just inside the post as the Stars capitalized on their third 4-on-4 goal of the week. The goal would be McClure’s second game winning goal against the Wild in four games this year and was his third game winner of the year.
The Stratford, Ontario native notched his second of the game less than two minutes later. On a similar play, Adam Mascherin set the table for McClure who entered the offensive zone late before cutting into the slot. His quick shot beat Kahkonen on the glove side this time to extend the advantage and hand the rookie his sixth of the season. Mascherin finished the night with a pair of helpers and has five points (1-4=5) in his last four games.
Late in the period, McClure entered the zone on another pass from Mascherin. This time he broke to the right side of the net and walked in on Iowa’s rookie netminder. McClure held as long as possible and forced him out of position before wrapping behind the net and tucking the puck inside the opposite post. His first career hat trick made it 4-1 with two and a half minutes left in the game and became the fourth hat trick this season. McClure joins Mascherin, Erik Condra, and Colton Hargrove on the Stars hat trick list.
In the first period, the goaltenders flourished. Kahkonen made a game high 14 saves in the first 20 minutes. Inside the second period, Nicholas Caamano opened the scoring. After Josh Melnick put the puck deep into the zone, Caamano tucked a back handed shot through the pads of Iowa’s netminder eight minutes into the second frame. The winger earned his 11th of the season while Melnick notched assists in back to back games.
Oettinger’s first career start went off without a hitch as the netminder made 23 saves and held the Wild off the board through four power plays. The only tally to pass by the Boston University product came one second following an elongated power play chance after killing off a 5-on-3. Dmitry Sokolov scored his 16th of the season after splitting the defense and tucking one inside the cross bar on the partial break.
Texas finished the game with a strong defensive stance against the Wild, allowing just four shots toward their rookie goaltender. At the end of the night, Oettinger earned the victory in his first pro action while Kahkonen suffered his fifth loss to the Stars this year.
The Stars are just three points behind the Wild, who have dropped five straight, with five games remaining on the schedule. Texas also maintains the advantage against Manitoba, Milwaukee, and Rockford who all continue to chase Texas for fourth place in the Central Division.
Photo Credit: Iowa Wild