Stars Soar Past Penguins 5-2 behind Kero’s Hat Trick

Jan 15, 2020

CEDAR PARK, Texas – The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, topped the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 5-2 in their first-ever battle at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park on Wednesday night. Texas fired an impressive 37 shots on goal and Tanner Kero led the team’s success with a hat trick. The Stars have won all three games against the Penguins this season.


Each team opened scoring with quick power play goals early in the contest. Wiles-Barre/Scranton tallied the first goal five minutes in. As the Penguins put pressure in the zone, a pass came to the right circle to Kevin Roy for a quick shot past Jake Oettinger 12 seconds into the power play. Texas then matched the goal just two minutes later to level the score at one. Kero entered the zone and collected a timely pass from Emil Djuse from center ice. The forward then split two Penguins defenders and used his speed to face Casey DeSmith one-on-one, eventually shooting the puck through the netminders legs to put the Stars on the board 20 seconds into their man advantage. The power play goals in the opening frame proved to be the only success on special teams as both Texas and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went 1-for-4. 


Midway through the game, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton took a 2-1 lead during 4-on-4 play. Adam Johnson put the puck over Oettinger’s shoulder from a deep angle in the left circle. However, the Stars battled back from the deficit to level the score six minutes before the intermission. After DeSmith made an initial save on Anthony Louis’ shot from the left circle, the goaltender mishandled the puck in his glove, causing it to drop between his legs and trickle into the back of the net. 


Texas then flipped the script on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, taking their first lead of the night just seconds into the final period. Joel L’Esperance battled David Warsofsky as he drove the net and tossed the puck toward the pad of DeSmith. The puck then flew up and into the back of the net to put Texas ahead 3-2. Twelve minutes later, Kero net his second of the night as a clearing attempt by Warsofsky connected perfectly with Kero’s stick. From the right circle, the winger fired a rocket over DeSmith’s blocker to increase Texas’ lead to 4-2. Kero later capped a season-best outing while completing a hat trick with an empty net goal. It was his second career hat trick, collecting his first just over a year ago on Jan. 6, 2019 in Cleveland.


Oettinger earned the win after a solid 18-save effort. DeSmith suffered the loss and allowing four goals on the night on 32 saves. 


The Stars and Penguins conclude their four-game season series and a five-game Texas homestand on Friday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. The team will then begin a two-game road trip to Iowa and Rockford for a pair of Central Division matchups.

Written by Stevie Golding

Photo Credit: Andy Nietupski


Game Info Shots Goaltenders 3 Stars (Xerox Business Solutions Southwest)
Boxscore TEX: 37  W: Jake Oettinger (TEX) 1: Tanner Kero (TEX)
Photo WBS: 20 L: Casey DeSmith (WBS) 2: Anthony Louis (TEX)
Video     3: Joel L'Esperance (TEX)
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