Stars Hang On to Defeat Wild

It wasn’t the prettiest of hockey games.  It was an opportunistic hockey games.  And the Texas Stars (23-17-3-2) made the most of those opportunities to out-last the Iowa Wild (17-26-1-2) by a score of 6-to-4. 

“It’s not always how you draw it up, obviously.  But at the end of the day, I think we’re seeing a lot more good than bad,” said Texas Stars head coach Neil Graham.  “Take the two points, look at some areas, and move on.”

The team played evenly in the opening period.  Neither team really established any momentum with sustained plays interrupted by frequent interruptions. 

“We had our rhythm going (in the second period).  Next thing you know, we were up three-nothing.  And that’s the explosiveness we’ve been able to possess in the past,”  said Graham. 

That explosiveness started with Kyle McDonald’s power play goal 34 seconds into the period.  Mavrik Bourque and Derrick Pouliot each added goals, giving the Stars a 3-to-0 advantage until the Wild’s Steven Fogarty put the visitor on the scoreboard late in the frame. 

Iowa came out with a very strong push in the third, out-shooting Texas 20-to-7. 

Sammy Walker started Iowa’s comeback, scoring six minutes into the final frame.  Matej Blumel countered with a break-away goal three minutes later.  The Wild’s Adam Beckman then scored back-to-back goals to even the score. 

The game looked to be going into overtime until Derrick Pouliot flipped the puck behind Jester Wallstedt’s back for the go-ahead goal.  Fredrik Karlstrom added an insurance goal on an empty net score. 

“The negative (in tonight’s game) was more moments.  I wouldn’t necessarily agree that there was a ton of both (good or bad points),” said Graham, giving the game some perspective.  “I though the positives highly out-weighted the negatives.  It’s easy to turn negative when it’s a four-four hockey game.” 

The game had surprisingly clean, with only four penalties.  Each team made good use of the power play opportunities with Texas converting on its only man-advantage opportunities and Iowa going one-for-three. 

Texas’s Matt Murray skated away with the win, making 33 saves against 37 shots.  Iowa’s Jesper Wallstedt went home with the loss, allowing five goals on 29 shots.  

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