Stars Blow Out Roadrunners, 6-2, with Four Power-Play GoalsFeb 11, 2017
Stars - 28
Roadrunners - 28
Texas Sweeps Weekend Set Over Roadrunners
CEDAR PARK, Texas -- After 77 minutes in penalties by the Tucson Roadrunners, the Texas Stars scored four power-play goals to complete a weekend sweep of their Pacific-Division Rivals in a 6-2 victory at H-E-B Center at Cedar Park.
The Stars (23-20-1-2) went 4-for-7 on the power play with goals from defensemen Julius Honka and Nick Ebert, in addition to forwards Matej Stransky and Gemel Smith. Texas closed the gap against the Roadrunners (21-16-5-0), who sit one spot above the Stars in the Pacific Division and control the fourth and final playoff spot.
“The team we’re chasing is Tucson, and obviously the teams above them, but for us, every game is a playoff game,” said Texas Stars Head Coach Derek Laxdal. “Tonight had a great atmosphere. There were a lot of fights, and it was a pretty intense game from both sides.”
Texas took a 2-0 lead in the first period to jumpstart their offensive outburst after Stars Captain Travis Morin, who had a three point (1-2=3) night, tipped in the puck past Tucson goaltender Adin Hill to open up scoring with 9:21 remaining in the first. Honka then added the Stars’ first power-play goal of the game with a shot from the point that deflected past Hill less than two minutes later.
The second period of action saw the Stars add another goal when Ebert snapped a wrist shot, from the right circle, past Hill at the 2:46 mark to give Texas a 3-0 lead on another power-play strike. The Stars defenseman finished with a goal and two assist in the contest.
Over the course of the five minutes following Ebert’s goal, chaos ensued as the two teams raked in a combined 84 penalty minutes, including eight fighting majors and four misconducts, to mark the beginning of a gritty inter-division rivalry.
“This was a little bit of a character builder for our hockey club and some of the young guys,” said Laxdal. “They really haven't experienced this type of emotion. It was right to the final buzzer. Guy were on the bench, and we were trying to settle them down.”
Tucson used the on-ice antics to help build momentum for their club as Christian Fischer found his way past Stars netminder Justin Peters at the 11:35 mark of the second period. Forward Eric Selleck added another Roadrunners goal with three seconds remaining in the middle frame to make the score 3-2 entering the third and final period of play.
The final 20 minutes saw the Stars score three more goals, all on special teams.
During a 5-on-3 power-play opportunity, Matej Stransky’s notched his team-leading 17th goal of the season on a one-time shot from the left circle at 9:12 after Morin set him up with a crossing feed. Then, just over two minutes later, Ebert’s shot from the point generated a rebound chance that Gemel Smith, who earned a Gordie Howe Hat Trick in the contest, tapped home at 10:20 to make it 5-2 with the man-advantage.
“It was good to finally see the puck go in,” said Morin. “We haven't been scoring, but we’ve been getting some pretty good looks and some pretty good chances. We still had confidence in that and it was just a matter of time. Tonight the flood gates opened on it.”
Forward Remi Elie then shut the door on the night with the Stars AHL-leading 10th shorthanded goal of the season with just over seven minutes to play.
Saturday’s game saw the Stars and Roadrunners break a franchise record for most combined penalty minutes with 130.
Peters contributed to the win, stopping 26 of 28 shots while Hill took the loss after stopping 22 of 28.
1. Morin (TEX)
2. Ebert (TEX)
3. Peters (TEX)
W - Peters
L - Hill
Photo Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars