Stars Win Last Two in Extras
Shootout and OT wins keep Texas in the hunt
By Eric Pickhartz,
11:42AM, Tue. Jan. 25, 2011
The Texas Stars didn't just salvage four points in their last two games, they stole them away like a defending conference champion should. Wins over Milwaukee Saturday night and San Antonio on Monday have put the Stars in playoff position two games before the All-Star break. Click through for the story, and to see what's up next.
A capacity Cedar Park Center crowd saw a tightly matched three periods on Saturday, with Greg Rallo continuing his hot streak netting the Stars only regulation goal. Milwaukee scored on a power play early in the third to tie. A scoreless overtime meant a shootout was looming, and goalie Richard Bachman redeemed himself by saving four of five and watched Colton Sceviour and Ray Sawada net the game-winners.
Monday's tilt with the San Antonio Rampage was an impressive win, with some great hits throughout the entire 60 minutes. The play of the night came in the first period, when Rallo sent a wrister toward the net on the power play. The shot was a good three feet wide of the goal, but found Aaron Gagnon's stick, brilliantly placed to tip the puck out of midair and into the back of the net.
Two San Antonio goals put the Stars behind, but again, Mr. Rallo scored when he needed to, and tallied his 14th goal of the season to send it to overtime. A San Antonio tripping penalty set up a four-on-three advantage for Texas, and all the extra space was exactly what Rallo needed. He not only saved one point in standings, but gave the Stars the win and the playoff position 31 seconds into overtime with a one-timer from the right circle. San Antonio goalie (and former Stars net-minder) Matt Climie slammed his stick onto the crossbar as the Stars celebrated the victory by swarming the ecstatic Rallo.
Now in a spot in the AHL's Western Conference that justifies their contention for another playoff run, the Stars look ahead to two games before taking a breather for the All-Star game/midseason vacation. Forward Travis Morin will represent the team on January 31 in Hershey, Pa., but the rest of the squad will take the much-needed break to prepare for the second half.
Texas travels to Oklahoma City, who sits one point ahead of the Stars in the West Division, then return home Saturday, January 29, to play the Abbotsford Heat at 7pm. If Saturday night games continue their previous trend, you will want to grab some tickets early if you intend to go.
Upcoming Home Games: Vs. Abbotsford: Sat., Jan. 29, 7pm. Vs. Oklahoma City: Sat., Feb. 5, 7pm. Vs. Houston: Thu., Feb. 8, 7:30pm. Vs. Rockford: Fri., Feb. 11, 7:30pm. Vs. Rockford: Sat., Feb. 12, 7pm. TexasStarsHockey.com