Texas Rallies From Two-Goal Deficit, Extends Win Streak to Four
CLEVELAND, OH – Rookie Jamie Oleksiak tied the game with 66 seconds left in regulation and Tom Wandell scored the shootout-winning goal in the sixth round to lift the Texas Stars to a 4-3 comeback win over the Lake Erie Monsters Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena. The Stars now have an American Hockey League best 72 points and 32 wins, which passes the team’s total from the entire 2011-12 season.
The fireworks began early in the contest as Lake Erie forward caught Texas left wing Luke Gazdic in the head with an elbow and was given a five-minute major for elbowing and a game misconduct at 1:11. The Stars were unable to capitalize on the five-minute power play, but they did score first shortly after the penalty expired. Tomas Vincour took a Tom Wandell pass from the left wall and one-timed the puck back across the body of Monsters goalie Calvin Pickard at 7:55. The goal was Vincour’s 10th of the season, extended his goal streak to four games and was assisted by Wandell and Francis Wathier. Lake Erie struck back at 11:15 to tie the game as Mike Connolly angled a shot from Karl Stollery off a faceoff through the legs of Jack Campell. Paul Carey gave the Monsters the lead with 2:32 left in the frame when he pounced on a rebound at the top of the crease and slammed the puck into the empty net on the back post.
Connolly was at it again in the second period as he scored a shorthanded goal, his second goal of the game, by knocking in a rebound from a Brad Malone shot at 6:58. Texas out-shot the Monsters 12-8 in the period, but found trailed 3-1 going into the final frame.
Texas peppered the Lake Erie goal in the third period, forcing save after save from Pickard. The Stars finally broke through to cut the deficit to one just past the halfway point of the period. Vincour’s tireless work kept the puck in the offensive zone and found Francis Wathier in the right faceoff circle. Wathier spun around and fired a shot through the legs of a Lake Erie defender and over the left pad of Pickard at 10:39. It was his second goal of the year and was assisted by Vincour and Wandell. With time rapidly winding down, Texas pulled Campbell for the extra attacker as they went in search of the equalizer. The Stars found it with just over a minute left in regulation. Rookie defenseman William Wrenn found fellow rookie blueliner Jamie Oleksiak in the high slot and the “Big Rig” blazed a wrister over Pickard’s shoulder and into the net to tie the game at three with 1:06 left in regulation. It was Oleksiak’s fourth goal of the season and was assisted by Wrenn, his first career AHL point, and Toby Petersen. Texas out-shot Lake Erie 15-8 in the third period.
After an exciting, but scoreless overtime, the game went to a shootout. Paul Carey scored on Lake Erie’s first attempt to give the hosts the early lead. That was the only puck that eluded Campbell in the shootout. Texas’ rookie goaltender stopped the next five shooters, Oleksiak tied the shootout in the fourth round and Wandell scored on a dazzling move in the sixth round to win the game for the Stars.
Jack Campbell recorded his fourth straight victory, and 12th win of the year, as he stopped 29-of-32 shots through regulation and overtime and then five-of-six in the shootout for Texas. Calvin Pickard turned in another strong performance for Lake Erie, making 39 saves on 42 shots and denying 4-of-6 shootout attempts in the loss. The Stars out-shot the Monsters 43-32 and went 0-for-3 on the power play, Lake Erie was 0-for-2 with the man-advantage. The win improved Campbell’s shootout record to 3-3 and he has stopped 34-of-45 shootout attempts for an impressive 75.6% save percentage.
Texas will again battle with the Lake Erie Monsters on Saturday, February 23rd at 6:30 p.m. CST at Quicken Loans Arena. The Stars’ next home game is on Friday, March 1st at 7:30 p.m. against the Chicago Wolves. Pro-rated full and partial 2012-13 season seat packages are on sale now. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.
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