Ritchie Scores Twice; Nilstorp Makes 36 Saves, Adds Assist in Victory
Rookie Brett Ritchie scored two goals in the first period to lead the Texas Stars to a 4-1 win over the Charlotte Checkers on Friday night in front of 5,259 fans at Cedar Park Center. It was Texas’ 20th victory on home ice this season, kicking off Pink in the Rink Weekend presented by Cedar Park Regional Medical.
Rookie right wing Brett Ritchie nearly scored with his first shot of the game, but rang the puck squarely off the right post. He would get his redemption on his second shot of the night, however, to give Texas the lead. Patrik Nemeth’s wrist shot from the right circle kicked off goaltender Mike Murphy and Ritchie slammed home the rebound at 12:38. Just 26 seconds later, Maxime Fortunus’ slap-shot from the point ricocheted of the end-wall and Colton Sceviour slid a pass behind Murphy to setup a wide open net for Curtis McKenzie, who gave the Stars a 2-0 lead. With less than two minutes remaining in the period, Texas stretched its lead to three. Mike Hedden won a battle along the right boards, slid the puck to Ritchie who carried the puck into the slot and fired a wrist shot over the blocker of Murphy for his second goal of the period and 14th of the year.
After a scoreless second period, Chris Terry put the Checkers on the scoreboard just 26 seconds into the third period with a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that beat Cristopher Nilstorp’s blocker side and went off the inside of the post. Hedden put the game out of reach for Checkers when he scored a power play goal on a breakaway with 4:17 left in regulation. Justin Dowling, who also assisted on Ritchie’s first goal, earned with his second assist of the night and his 11th in 10 games. Nilstorp had the secondary helper on the goal to record his second assist of the season.
Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 36-of-37 shots to notch his 18th win of the season in goal for Texas, which is the eighth most in the AHL this year. Mike Murphy allowed four goals on 31 shots to suffer his 8th loss of the season in net for Charlotte. The Checkers outshot the Stars 37-31 and went 0-3 on the power-play. Texas was 1-4 with the man advantage.
The Texas Stars again face the Charlotte Checkers at Cedar Park Center on Saturday, February 22nd at 7:00 p.m. Saturday’s game is a Texas Lottery Lucky Row Night, a Coke Zero Family Four Pack Night and is the Pink in the Rink Hat Giveaway presented by Cedar Park Regional Medical Center. 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.