Chiasson Notches Two Points As Stars Earn Third Victory Against First-Place Checkers
CEDAR PARK, TX – Alex Chiasson tallied a goal and an assist to help bring the Texas Stars within three points of the South Division leading Charlotte Checkers as the Stars defeated the Checkers 3-1 Saturday night at Cedar Park Center.
Texas fell behind early as momentum from the game’s first power play helped Charlotte strike first. Zac Dalpe was on the finishing end of a crisp give-and-go passing sequence with Riley Nash that beat Stars netminder Cristopher Nilstorp at 6:04, just seconds after a Texas penalty expired to put the Checkers in front 1-0. The Stars took advantage of a back-and-forth pace later in the period to knot the score up 1-1. Taylor Vause out-skated the Charlotte defense and fed Toby Petersen with a point-blank centering pass at 14:52 to earn a beautiful fast break goal beating Checkers goaltender Dan Ellis. Texas attempted 13 shots in the opening period to Charlotte’s six and both clubs went into the first intermission 0-for-1 with the man advantage.
The Stars claimed the lead quickly in the middle frame thanks in large part to the continued strong play of Reilly Smith. At work during Texas’ second power play of the period, Smith patiently waited for a shooting lane to open on the right wing and fired a wrister that deflected off of Alex Chiasson’s screening leg and into the twine at 4:59 to give the Stars a 2-1 edge. Texas controlled the flow of the game for the majority of the session, creating multiple scoring chances while Nilstorp's solid work in net held the Checkers off the scoreboard. The Stars were 1-for-2 on the power play and Charlotte was once again 0-for-1 as each team fired 12 shots on goal and headed into the final period with Texas on top 2-1.
After killing off a penalty early in the third frame, the Stars used the resulting momentum to add extra breathing room to their lead. Chiasson tallied his second point of the contest when he led an odd-man rush and found an eager Cody Eakin in the slot. Eakin, playing with extra facial protection after missing the last game with a high-sticking injury, slipped the puck underneath a sprawling Ellis at 8:27 to push the Texas advantage to 3-1. The Checkers pulled Ellis with two minutes left in an attempt to get back in the game, but the Stars defense remained sturdy and Texas capped off a 3-1 victory. The Stars are now a perfect 3-0 against first-place Charlotte so far this season and are within three points of the South Division lead.
Texas goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 30-of-31 shots to earn his twelfth win of the year, while Checkers starter Dan Ellis denied 28-of-31 shots in the loss. The teams finished the game even at 31 shots-a-piece. The Stars went 1-for-4 on the power play, while Charlotte went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
Texas returns to action on Monday, December 31st as they travel to Oklahoma City for a 6:00 p.m. faceoff at Cox Convention Center. The New Year’s Eve showdown will be the fourth time the Stars have squared off against the Barons in their last six games. Texas returns home Saturday, January 5th for a 7:00 p.m. faceoff against the Peoria Rivermen at Cedar Park Center. The January 5th home game is a Family Four Pack Night and is the Stars Team Card Set Giveaway. 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.