Stars Tied For First Place In Western Conference With 24th Victory
PEORIA, IL – The Texas Stars equaled a club record for most goals in one game as they blasted the Peoria Rivermen 8-4 Saturday night at Carver Arena to move into a first place tie on top of the Western Conference standings.
Peoria came out very strong to start the first period, had two early power plays and held the advantage in offensive zone possession. Just past the halfway point of the period Evgeny Grachev’s broke his stick in half on an attempted one-timer from the blue line. The bottom half of his stick ended up in the crowd and the puck dribbled towards the top of the crease where Andrew Murray reacted fastest and tucked a shot just inside the right post at 12:12. Five minutes later Grachev took a hard snap shot from the high slot that went off the top of the glove of Stars goalie Richard Bachman and into the net for a 2-1 Rivermen lead. Texas answered right back as Austin Smith scored a mere ten seconds later. On the faceoff right after the Grachev goal, Smith took a pass from Patrik Nemeth, sped down the right wing, danced around a Peoria defender and beat goalie Mike McKenna with a backhander at 17:29. The goal was Smith’s second in as many nights and was assisted by Patrik Nemeth. The Rivermen out-shot the Stars 15-9 in the opening period and led 2-1 at the break.
In the second period the Stars red hot power play paved the way to their first lead of the contest. Alex Chiasson tipped in a Maxime Fortunus shot for a power play at 3:49 to tie the game at two; it was Chiasson’s tenth goal of the season. Matt Fraser was the next to get in on the scoring as he snapped a hard wrist shot over the shoulder of McKenna at 6:49 to put Texas up 3-2. Fraser’s goal, assisted by Tomas Vincour and Jamie Oleksiak, was his 19th of the year and his AHL-leading 10th power play goal. The Stars almost had a 4-2 lead minutes later when an Oleskiak shot rebounded off the pads of McKenna and hit the legs of Joey Martin, but the referee waived off the goal and would not review the play. Peoria tied the game moments later when Chris Porter drove to the net and batted a rebound out of mid-air and in at 10:07. Chiasson was then called for a very questionable delay of game penalty, but Texas received some swift hockey Justin. During the Rivermen power play, Tomas Vincour raced away on a breakaway and beat McKenna for a shorthanded goal at 16:04 to give the Stars a 4-3 lead.
Texas came into the game 17-0-0-0 when leading after two periods and it would use some quick strikes to earn their 18th win of the season in that category. Justin Dowling scored his first goal as a member of the Stars with a pretty wrist shot into the top right corner of the net just 53 seconds into the third frame. One minute and 23 seconds later Toby Petersen found the back of the net with his fourth goal of the season and it was 6-3 Texas. Petersen’s goal, assist by Tyler Sloan, chased McKenna from the game and he was replaced by backup Jake Allen. The onslaught continued as Maxime Fortunus’ shot from the point redirected off a Peoria defender and into the net for the Stars’ third power play goal of the game at 4:31. Vincour would then score Texas’ eighth goal of the night, his second of the game, at 9:58 from Fraser and Antoine Roussel. Anthony Nigro added a late unassisted goal to cap of the scoring at 13:51.
r Richard Bachman recorded his 40th career AHL win with 30 saves on 34 shots faced in goal for Texas. Mike McKenna took the loss, allowing six goals on 25 shots in 41:58 of action. Jake Allen stopped 6-of-8 shots over the final 17:44 in relief and took a no decision. Peoria out-shot the Stars 34-33 and were 0-for-4 with the man-advantage. Texas’ sizzling power play went a perfect 3-for-3.
Texas continues its six-game road trip on Monday, January 21st with a 1:05 p.m. faceoff against the Rockford IceHogs at BMO Harris Bank Arena. The Stars return home on Saturday, January 26th to square off with the San Antonio Rampage at 7:00 p.m. at Cedar Park Center. January 26th is Francis Wathier Mini Bobble Head Giveaway Night, presented by Cedar Park Jewelry. 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.