Johns, Stars Stun Marlies in 5-3 Comeback Victory
CEDAR PARK, Texas - The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL's Dallas Stars, topped the Toronto Marlies 5-3 on Saturday night as Stephen Johns saw action in his first professional hockey game in 22 months. The defenseman led the team's success in his return to the lineup, tallying career-high four points with a goal and three assists.
The Stars and Marlies traded first period goals to keep the game even after 20 minutes. Texas opened scoring early as they pressured Toronto in the offensive zone during the first power play of the game. Johns fired a shot toward the net that bounced in front of the goal and found the stick of Anthony Louis. The winger then took a quick shot from the right circle. As the puck bounced off Kasimir Kaskisuo's pad, Tanner Kero tapped the puck into the back of the net to put the Stars ahead. However, Toronto struck back at the midway point of the period to level the score as Richard Clune put a quick shot in between the legs of Landon Bow.
In the second, Texas saw another opportunity on the man advantage and Johns converted within seconds to break the tie. The defenseman controlled the puck at the blue line and fired a rocket past the Marlies netminder for his first goal since Feb. 16, 2018.
Toronto threatened a late comeback in the final 20 minutes as Nic Petan net a pair of back-to-back power play goals. After a faceoff win by the Marlies, Kenny Agostino shot the puck at Bow from the top of the right circle and Petan put the rebound in the back of the net. Shortly thereafter, the forward smacked in another goal to give Toronto their first lead of the night.
With less than 10 minutes remaining in the game, Texas had an offensive surge that would lead them to a comeback victory. Jason Robertson ignited the spark as he stole the puck and flew down the ice on a breakaway to face Kaskisuo one-on-one. The rookie went five-hole on the goalie for his 13th of the year, starting the game over at 3-3. Tye Felhaber then played hero as he cleaned up Johns' team-leading seventh shot of the night for the game-winning goal. As icing on the cake, Michael Mersch threw a goal into the Marlies empty net to cap scoring on a 5-3 victory.
Each team converted on chances on the man advantage as Texas went 2-for-3 and Toronto matched the success going 2-for-5. Bow secured his ninth win between the pipes, saving 29 of the Marlies' 32 shots. Kaskisuo suffered the loss as the Stars net five goals on 26 shots.
The Stars are set to welcome the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins to Cedar Park for the first time on Wednesday for a pair on games. The teams will continue their series with a pair of games, concluding a five-game Stars homestand on Friday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. both nights
3 STARS OF THE GAME presented by Xerox Business Solutions Southwest
Stephen Johns (TEX)
Tye Felhaber (TEX)
Nic Petan (TOR)
The Texas Stars are the primary development affiliate of the NHL's Dallas Stars. Full-season, 24-game and 12-game ticket packages for the 2019-20 campaign are on sale now. For more information, call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit TexasStars.com.
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Texas Stars celebrate after a goal
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