The Texas Stars rebounded from being swept at the hands of the San Antonio Rampage last weekend with two overtime wins in a back-to-back set against the San Diego Gulls and San Jose Barracuda on Friday and Saturday at HEB Center at Cedar Park.
Texas bested San Diego in a Friday matchup, 5-4, thanks to an overtime game-winner from Andrew Bodnarchuk. Texas then faced San Jose in Saturday's game, winning 3-2 in a shootout behind Travis Morin's exceptional play.
"Going into the weekend, that was the goal: get four points [in the standings]," Stars head coach Derek Laxdal said after Saturday's game. "For us to close one out in overtime and get one in the shootout, a win's a win."
In Friday's contest, the Stars shrugged off a tenacious and physical fight from the visiting Gulls to win their fourth game of the season by a score of 5-4. Texas' only lead in the game was the final score, as former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Bodnarchuk sent the Stars into elation.
Texas, who also got goals by Dillon Heatherington, Jason Dickinson, Curtis McKenzie, and Sheldon Dries, fought back to tie the game three times before sealing the deal in the three-on-three overtime session. Mike McKenna got the win in the Stars' crease with 16 saves on the night.
Texas forward Justin Dowling was injured in a fight with Gulls forward Stu Bickell in the first period of Friday's game. Dowling, on a two-way contract with the Dallas Stars, sat out on Saturday with concussion symptoms.
"Give the guys a lot of credit; it was an emotional weekend but they really stuck to it," Laxdal said. "Really exciting for the fans and a lot of emotion for the players."
Saturday's game was a shootout nailbiter that featured 14 minor penalties between the two clubs. Texas bested San Jose in a shootout by a score of 3-2 behind goals from Travis Morin (shootout winner), Matt Mangene, and Roope Hintz.
Down 0-1 after 15 seconds of play in the second period, the Stars dug themselves in the hole with Matt Mangene's pretty second-period goal. Mangene faked forehand and slid a backhander past San Jose goaltender Troy Grosenick. Top Dallas Stars forward prospect Roope Hintz turned the corner in the offensive zone and sniped one to give the Stars the 2-1 lead.
The Stars faced an uphill climb in the third frame of Saturday's clash, having seven penalties for the PK team to kill off on the night. They surrendered the lead when Barracuda captain John McCarthy scored on the power play.
Stout goaltending play from McKenna and defensive play from the entire Stars roster led to the overtime period, and subsequently the shootout, where Morin's goal was the only puck to find the net. Morin, with an assist on Hintz' goal and the game-winner, was the first star of the night.
"It was a pretty tight game, both teams checked really well," Laxdal continued. "We improved our home ice record after being beat twice last weekend."
The Texas Stars travel to California to face their Pacific Division rivals in games against the Bakersfield Condors, Stockton Heat, San Diego, and San Jose over the next two weeks. The 2014 Calder Cup champions return to HEB Center at Cedar Park on Nov. 10 and 11 to face the defending Cup champs, the Grand Rapids Griffins.