Travis Morin registered three assists and goaltender Josh Robinson stopped four-of-five shootout attempts as the Texas Stars prevailed over the Iowa 4-3 in a shootout Wednesday night in front of 4,691 fans at Cedar Park Center. Colton Sceviour and Chris Mueller each had a goal and an assist in regulation and then each nabbed shootout goals to help the Stars secure their franchise record 11th straight home win.
The first period saw the Stars outshoot the Wild 13-6, but it was Iowa’s leading scorer Brian Connelly who came through with the sole goal. Connelly struck on an early power play when he launched a shot that deflected off of the shoulder of Texas defenseman Derek Meech and then arced high into the air and over an unsuspecting Cristopher Nilstorp, who never saw the puck fortuitously fall just inside the far post to give the Wild a 1-0 lead.
The most notable occurrence of a scoreless second period was a collision between Nilstorp and Iowa forward Chad Rau forced the Texas starting goaltender to leave the game due to injury in the closing minutes of the frame, being replaced with backup Josh Robinson.
A mere 46 seconds into the third period the Stars capitalized on a carry-over power play to tie the game at one. AHL point leader Travis Morin fed a backdoor pass to Chris Mueller, who chipped the puck up over Wild goalie Johan Gustafsson to the left side of the crease where Curtis McKenzie tapped the puck in just before the goal was knocked off its moorings. The Wild responded when Raphael Bussieres picked up a loose puck coming into the zone and slid it through the five-hole of Robinson to put Iowa up 2-1. The Stars answered just over two minutes later when their AHL-leading power play unit struck for the second time, this time Chris Mueller finishing a beautiful passing play from Travis Morin and Colton Sceviour to knot the game at two. Sceviour must have thought he had another game-winner when he broke the deadlock with 64 seconds left in regulation. The AHL’s leader in goals collected a pass from Morin and fired a vicious wrister from the right circle that beat Gustafsson top shelf for his league-leading 26th goal of the season. But the Wild responded with just 29.8 seconds remaining as Steven Kampfer threw the puck out from the corner and Zack Phillips pounced on it level the score at three and force overtime.
After an inconclusive five-minute overtime, the teams headed to a shootout. Iowa’s Carson McMillian beat Robinson with the initial attempt of the first round, but it would be the only goal conceded by the Stars goalie in the shootout. Sceviour tied it up with a goal as the Stars’ first shooter and Mueller scored in the third round to give Texas a 2-1 lead. Robinson closed the door on the Wild by shutting down the remaining four Iowa shooters, including a pad-save on defenseman Steven Kampfer in the fifth round to clinch the 4-3 shootout victory for the Stars. The two points extended Texas’ home winning streak to 11 games and their home point streak to 12 games, both of which are franchise records.
Texas starter Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 10-of-11 shots faced and earned a no decision in 38:41 of action. Nilstorp exited the game at 18:41 of the second due to injury and was replaced by Josh Robinson, who turned aside 10-of-12 shots and then denied 4-of-5 shootout attempts to earn his fourth win of the season. Iowa goalie Johan Gustafsson finished with 41 saves on 44 shots and went 2-for-4 in the shootout to take the loss. The Stars outshot the Wild 45-23 and went 2-for-3 on the power play. Iowa was 1-for-3 with the man-advantage.
The Stars will continue their current seven-game home stand by taking on the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday, January 24th for a 7:30 p.m. face off at Cedar Park Center in a showdown of the top two teams in the Western Conference. Friday’s game is a $3 Draft Beer and $4 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Wine Night and is the Stars’ Team Card Set giveaway. 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.