The Texas Stars knocked off the visiting Chicago Wolves on Saturday night at HEB Center at Cedar Park by a score of 6-5 in overtime, completing a come-from-behind performance by the Stars. Texas followed up Friday's season-opening 6-5 victory over the Wolves.
"Give our guys a lot of credit, we hung in there and tied it up, and in overtime, boy, what do you say," Stars head coach Derek Laxdal said after the game. "It was an incredible game to watch from a fan's standpoint."
While the Dallas Stars, Texas's parent club, opened their season by falling to the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 on Friday night, the Texas Stars wrapped up a weekend set against the Golden Knights' AHL affilate with Saturday night's win.
With three power plays in the first 11 minutes of the initial frame, Chicago poured on the pressure early and took a 1-0 lead on Shea Theodore's wrist shot from the blue line on the man-advantage. Theodore was brought to the Las Vegas organization via the NHL's expansion draft in June.
With a 5-on-3 advantage in the first period, the Stars tied the match up on Gavin Bayreuther's first goal of the season. Bayreuther, signed by the Dallas organization out of St. Lawrence, ripped a wrist shot past Chicago starting goaltender Oscar Dansk right in front of the crease.
"This is my first year pro and I think we have a really special group," Bayreuther said. "The guys just want to win ... that's the biggest thing."
The 1-1 tie at the end of the first frame was quickly discarded as Jason Dickinson, who scored on Friday night's season opener, batted the puck out of the net and past Dansk for a goal. Theodore responded a snipe four minutes later, as the former Anaheim Duck reestablished the tied score.
The Stars, however, were pushed by a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play between Dickinson, Cole Ully, and Travis Morin, who lifted one past Dansk for his fourth point and first goal of the season. Morin, entering his ninth year with the Texas Stars, formerly won the AHL's Most Valuable Player award.
Bayreuther then fed Mark McNeill, a veteran forward acquired by the Dallas organization by trade last season, who sailed a backhander over Dansk to cap off a strong middle period from the Stars. Bayreuther was expected to take a huge leap with Texas this season and has impressed in his short stint.
An odd third period that saw Texas' 4-2 lead dwindle to a 5-4 deficit was turned around by Matt Mangene's beautiful shot through traffic after a fake wrister. Goaltender Mike McKenna kept the Stars into things with excellent play late in the third period, forcing the ensuing overtime.
McKenna's strong play continue in the 3-on-3 overtime session, essentially singlehandedly killing a Brent Regner minor penalty. Dickinson, the game's first star of the night, added his second goal of the night after fighting off a chasing Theodore to win the game for Texas. HEB Center at Cedar Park erupted as Dickinson sealed the deal.
"All I was thinking was trying to keep Theodore off my back," Dickinson told the media after the game. "As long as I can keep him off and get my shot off, I can give myself a chance. [Theodore] challenges you so much."
The Stars next take on the San Diego Gulls in California on Friday, October 13.