Stars Beat Heat 3-1, Reclaim First in Western ConferenceMar 4, 2014
ABBOTSFORD, BC – Dustin Jeffrey scored twice, his first two goals for the Texas Stars, while goaltender Jack Campbell made 23 saves on 24 shots, in a 3-1 win over the Abbotsford Heat Tuesday morning at Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre. The victory leap-frogged the Stars over Grand Rapids and back into first place in the Western Conference, while also building a four-point gap over the Heat for the West Division lead.
It took just over 15 minutes of intense on-ice battling for the game’s first goal to arrive. Abbotsford jumped into the lead right after the final media timeout of the first period. The Heat won the draw, fired a shot on net and the rebound kicked back to Sven Baertschi at the right circle where he one-timed the puck into the top right corner of the net over the glove of Jack Campbell. The Stars answered back in the final minute of the frame. Rookie Brendan Ranford made a slick cross-crease pass to find the stick of Dustin Jeffrey for a tap-in goal with just 39 seconds left in the period. Assisted by Ranford and Scott Glennie, it was Jeffrey’s first goal in a Texas uniform.
The fierce West Division battle continued in the second period, with little between the two teams. Near the midway point of the frame, Jamie Oleskiak stole a pass in the neutral zone and started a rush down the left wing with Ranford. After a quick give-and-go with the Big Rig, Ranford slid the puck back to the middle for a blistering one-timer by Jeffrey for his second goal of the game and a 2-1 Texas lead at 8:55.
The Stars added an insurance goal at 10:29 of the third period as rookie Brett Ritchie blocked a shot and raced away on a breakaway, making a smooth forehand-to-backhand move and beating MacDonald for an unassisted goal. The tally was Ritchie’s 15th goal of the season and his ninth point (5 goals, 4 assists) in six games against Abbotsford. The Heat pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker for a six-on-four advantage during a late power play, only for Texas to defend their lead and clinch a 3-1 victory.
Jack Campbell (6-0-0) recorded his sixth win of the season by stopping 23-of-24 shots in goal for Texas and was named third star of the game. Abbotsford goaltender Joey MacDonald (5-10-0) finished with 22 saves on 25 shots, suffering his 10th loss of the year. The Stars out-shot the Heat 25-24 in the game and went 0-for-2 on the power play, while holding Abbotsford 0-for-3 with the man-advantage.
The Texas Stars will complete their a five-game road trip on Wednesday, March 5th as they again battle the Abbotsford Heat for a 9:30 p.m. CT face off at Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre. Texas will return to Cedar Park Center Saturday, March 8th to face the Charlotte Checkers with a 7:00 p.m. face off. Saturday’s game is a Coke Zero Family Four Pack Night and a Texas Lottery Lucky Row Night, as well as a Stars Team Poster giveaway and there will be a post-game autograph session. Pro-rated full and partial 2013-14 Texas Stars Season Tickets are on sale now. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.
Photo credit: Clint Trahan/Abbotsford Heat