Texas Topples Houston 4-3 in OT
CEDAR PARK, TX - Cody Eakin scored a power play goal in overtime as the Texas Stars took down the Houston Aeros 4-3 Sunday night at Cedar Park Center.
Houston took the early lead with Texas forward Antoine Roussel in the penalty box for charging. Nick Petersen scooped up a rebound off the pad of Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp and chipped in a point blank power play goal at 3:27 to put the Aeros in front 1-0. Texas had two power play opportunities in the period, but could not convert, as they outshot the visitors 11-8 in the opening frame.
The second session was filled with offensive fireworks. Reilly Smith kicked things off for the Stars when he raced off on a shorthanded breakaway and slid a backhand shot on the ice through the legs of Houston netminder Matt Hackett at 4:37, unassisted, to even the score at one. Houston responded less than a minute later when Zack Phillips pocketed a rebound just after a Texas penalty expired to reclaim a 2-1 advantage. A mere 21 seconds later, Stars forward Mike Hedden deposited the puck into the top shelf from just above the crease to level the score at two. The goal was Hedden's first of the season and was assisted by Jamie Oleksiak and Antoine Roussel. Texas capitalized on the power play at 9:29 to grab their first lead of the game. Gord Baldwin, Scott Glennie and Maxime Fortunus executed a tic-tac-toe passing sequence and Fortunus finished it off by blasting a one-timer by Hackett to put the Stars on top 3-2.
Midway through the third period the Aeros found the equalizer. With Jamie Oleksiak in the penalty box for holding, Johan Larsson swept the puck around a sprawling Nilstorp and into an open net at 11:55 to tally Houston's second power play goal of the night and even the score 3-3. Despite some high quality chances in the final minute, Texas could not put the game away in regulation and both squads earned a point as the contest headed to overtime.
After a David McIntyre tripping penalty, the Stars' leading point scorer Cody Eakin put the game on ice. Eakin shot a wrister from the right faceoff circle that found a way between the body of Hackett and the near post to give Texas a 4-3 overtime victory. The goal was Eakin's first game-winner of the season and it brought the Stars into sole possession of second place in the South Division.
Texas goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 24-of-27 shots to earn his 14th win of the year, while Houston starter Matt Hackett turned away 25-of-29 shots in the loss. The Stars outshot the visitors 29-27. Texas finished 2-for-8 on the power play, while Houston went 2-for-7 with the man advantage. Gord Baldwin's second period assist, on Fortunus' power play goal, was his first point in a Texas uniform.
Texas squares off against Houston once again on Friday, January 11th for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff at Cedar Park Center. Friday's game is the beginning of Pink in the Rink Weekend presented by Cedar Park Regional Medical Center as the Stars will wear special pink ribbon jerseys. Friday is also another $3 Beer Night. 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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