Stars Finish Road Trip with Solid Win in Rockford
ROCKFORD, Illinois - The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL's Dallas Stars, powered through the Rockford IceHogs tonight to earn a 3-2 win in the club's final game of their four-game road trip. Texas held off a late push in the third period from the IceHogs as goaltender Philippe Desrosiers earned a 28-save win.
The track-meet began in the first period, as the Stars and IceHogs traded chances across the ice in a fast paced opening 20 minutes. Texas earned the edge in front of the net to open the scoring as Michael Mersch notched his 200th career point in pro hockey. The winger posted up in front of netminder Kevin Lankinen and waited for a long shot from Nikolas Hansson at the blue line, tipping the effort into the net for his 12th goal of the season and 99th career goal at 17:10 of the period.
After the first period, the IceHogs used the power play to even the score. After a save by Desrosiers, the Stars defense were unable to clear the puck as Luke Johnson poked the loose rubber through the legs of the Texas goaltender. Jacob Nilsson was right next to the net to slam the puck in for his 13th of the season.
The Stars would then answer on the power play four minutes later. Mersch again was around the net, catching a pass from Justin Dowling on the right side of the net before playing the puck off of Lankinen. The rebound bounced to a wide-open Travis Morin who slipped a shot into the net for his seventh goal of the year. The veteran has scored 49 power play goals in 10 seasons with the Stars.
Texas was not done working on the power play, adding an insurance goal 3:31 into the third period. Mersch added his third point of the night blocking a Ben Gleason shot in front of the crease which found the AHL's leading goal scorer. Joel L'Esperance walked around the crease to slide his 27th goal of the season into the open net and extend the lead. Texas ended the game 2-for-6 on the power play while Rockford was 1-for-4 on the man advantage.
Feeling the pressure in the final five minutes, the IceHogs pulled Lankinen for an extra skater and quickly responded with a goal. Nilsson sent a cross ice pass over three Stars sticks, finding Victor Ejdsell in the right circle for a one-timer and the wingers eighth of the season.
Desrosiers' night ended with 28 saves and his fourth win of the season while Lankinen also stopped 28 shots in the decision. The Stars return home for two games against the Tucson Roadrunners on Friday and Saturday night before embarking on another four-game road trip.
3 Stars presented by Dahill Office Technology Corporation
1. Michael Mersch (TEX)
2. Travis Morin (TEX)
3. Philippe Desrosiers (TEX)
The Texas Stars are the primary development affiliate of the NHL's Dallas Stars, and return home to battle the Tucson Roadrunners at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 15 & 16) at H-E-B Center at Cedar Park. Full-season, 24-game and 12-game ticket packages for the 2018-19 campaign are on sale now. For more information, call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit TexasStars.com.
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Texas Stars exchange congratulations after win at Rockford
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