Anticipation was high as Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop was slotted to play up to five games with the Texas Stars as part of rehabilitation from reconstructive knee surgery. However, the finality of Bishop’s injury became clear as he allowed eight goals on 34 shots in a losing effort against the Chicago Wolves.
Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill said the next day that Bishop would be placed on Long Term Injured Reserved through the remainder of his contract, thus ending his playing career.
The Stars skated blade to blade against the Wolves with each team putting up three goals in the opening period.
C.J. Smith opened the scoring for Chicago just 33 seconds into the game. Josh Melnick tied the game with an unassisted short-handed goal two minutes later. Chicago’s Andrew Poturalski reclaimed the lead on a power play, only to have Riley Damiani even the score a minute later. Chicago’s Jack Drury and Texas’ Anthony Louis traded goals to close the period, with Louis’ coming on a power play.
The second period opened like the first, with C.J. Smith netting the puck 24 seconds into the frame. Ty Dellandrea tied the game on a power play goal. The remainder of the game belonged to Chicago. Josh Leivo, Joey Keane and Smith all found the back of the net in the middle period.
Stars’ head coach Neil Graham pulled Bishop for the final minute and one-half in the second period, only to return Bishop between the post for the final period.
The Wolves’ Leivo scored the only goal of the third period, giving Chicago an 8-4 victory.
Special teams were especially effective for both teams. Chicago went 3-for3 on power plays, while Texas went 2-for-4 with a goal on penalty kill.
Smith finished the night with three goals, and Leivo with two goals and three assists for the Wolves.
Eetu Makiniemi earned the win for Chicago, making 19 saves on 23 shots.
After the game Graham stated the obvious: “We obviously didn’t execute to plan.”
Graham also shared that the player met after the game to better understand the failing. “They had to handle somethings and they handled it. They had some internal things that they needed to discuss. That’s why you have leaders. At the end of the day, you had a lot of players that wanted to talk and get some things going. I think that’s great.”