Heat Score Twice in the Third to Pull Away from Stars, 4-1Mar 28, 2017
Stars - 23
Heat - 26
Matej Stransky Scores Team-Leading 23rd Goal for Texas
CEDAR PARK, Texas -- Jon Gillies put in another strong goaltending performance and the Stockton Heat added two insurance goals in the third period to skate away with a 4-1 win over the Texas Stars on Tuesday night at H-E-B Center at Cedar Park in the regular-season series finale between the two teams.
Matej Stransky scored his team-leading 23rd goal of the season with Texas’ only goal. Hunter Shinkaruk tallied a three-point night (1-2=3) for Stockton, and Jon Gillies stopped 22 of 23 shots in net to earn the win. The Heat’s rookie netminder has given up just seven goals in five career meetings against the Stars (30-32-1-4).
"We had a couple of breakdowns, one late penalty kill in the second period where all we have to do is simply dump the puck down the ice," said Head Coach Derek Laxdal. "We tried to be too fancy, and we ended up giving a grade-A in the back door. But, we had some good chances to score too."
Gillies and Texas netminder Justin Peters took center stage during the first part of the contest before the scoring began. Peters turned in three goal-saving plays beginning with a diving glove save on a shot in the slot after getting trapped behind his net from an awkward bounce early in the first. The veteran then turned aside a 2-on-0 chance for the Heat (29-25-4-2) after a Texas turnover at center ice midway through the first, denying Shinkaruk on the goal post.
Entering the second scoreless, Gillies thwarted a Texas odd-man rush by reaching behind him with a spinning stick save that stopped Cole Ully’s backhand shot in the goal crease. Peters added another sprawling save on the doorstep with a Stockton centering pass during a power play stretch.
"We had some good looks," said Laxdal. "Ully had the goalie beat, and [Gillies] made a highlight reel save, too. It’s one of those games where I liked our effort, I liked our push, but we just didn’t score when we had the chance and you have to give Gillies a little bit of credit for that.”
Shortly after Peters’ dynamic save in the second, Shinkaruk forced a turnover behind the Texas net at 4:06 and scored his ninth of the season with a backhand shot in front. Stransky knotted the score on a sharp-angled shot from right side to extend his point streak to five games with six minutes to play, but Linden Vey tapped home Stockton’s go-ahead goal with less than a second remaining in the period to make it 2-1 entering the third.
Morgan Klimchuk put up an insurance goal for the Heat at 1:26 of the third with a power-play tally from the slot, and Mark Jankowski added an empty-netter late in the game.
Peters finished 22 of 25 in net for Texas.
The Stars went 0-for-4 on the power play. Stockton was 1-for-6.
The Stars hit the road for a three-game weekend beginning on Friday at 7 p.m. CST against the Rockford IceHogs.
1. Shinkaruk (STK)
2. Stransky (TEX)
3. Vey (STK)
W - Gillies
L - Peters
Photo Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars