The Force was strong with the Stars on Friday night.
Texas rallied from a one-goal deficit and scored a pair of goals in the third period to beat the defending Calder Cup Champion Cleveland Monsters 4-2 on Star Wars night at the HEB Center. The win ended a three-game losing streak.
“Cleveland has been playing very well of late,” Stars head coach Derek Laxdal said. “They’re a well-disciplined team and I thought our guys responded well and fought back. The challenge is to string two games together.”
Remi Elie scored the first goal for Texas three minutes in, but Cleveland responded with two goals in the first period to take a 2-1 lead. Patrik Nemeth, assigned to Texas from Dallas earlier Friday for some conditioning, tied the game with a shorthanded goal in the second period.
Jason Dickinson scored the game-winning goal from a ridiculous angle nearly behind the Cleveland net midway through the final period.
“It was a legit shot,” Dickinson said. “I’m just trying to get it on net and funnel it in, but I was fortunate it went in. They’re one of the stronger teams right now, so for us to come out on top in a tight game like that shows a lot of character and drive in our game.”
Matej Stransky scored an insurance goal for Texas with just over five minutes left after Travis Morin kept an odd-man rush alive with a diving poke.
Maxime Lagace stopped 25 shots in his 10th win of the season. Morin, Nemeth, Andrew Bodnarchuk, Justin Dowling, Brandon DeFazio, Gemel Smith, Ethan Werek and Julius Honka all had assists.
“Defense is a team concept and everybody bought into the week of practice and what we’re trying to do,” Laxdal said. “I liked the way we approached the game and we know the second half of the season tightens up. It’s a good win and we have to build off of it.”
Texas finishes a four-game homestand Saturday at 7 p.m. against the Monsters before playing six of the next seven games away from home.
“This is the time of the season where you need to pick it up to make a push for the playoffs,” Dickinson said. “This was a foreshadowing of what we’re going to play like in every game if we want to make a serious push.”