Landon Bow didn’t think he’d get a shot to start so soon for the Stars. But he made the most of his unexpected opportunity.
The rookie made his AHL debut in Texas’ 8-4 win against the Rockford IceHogs on Friday, coming in midway through the second period and stopping 35 of 36 shots. He made his first start Saturday, leading the Stars to a 2-1 shootout win.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Bow said. “It’s exciting for me, but I’ve got to make sure I don’t have any excuses. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first start, you have to be ready like it’s your 100th. It felt really natural and the pucks came to me.”
He stopped 72 of 74 shots on the weekend and both shots he faced in the shootout on Saturday before being named first star.
Bow spent four years in the Western Hockey League, playing for the Swift Current Broncos and Seattle Thunderbirds. In 178 career games, he recorded an 87-58-16 record with a 2.80 goals against average and a .913 save percentage, including leading the Thunderbirds to the WHL finals.
He signed with Dallas as a free agent in early June and spent the first part of this season with the Stars’ ECHL team, the Idaho Steelheads, where he played 12 games and had an 8-3-1 record with a .916 save percentage.
“When we put him in there (on Friday), he settled us down and gave us the confidence to keep playing,” Stars head coach Derek Laxdal said. “(Saturday) he started the game and had a chance to prepare for the game. It was good to see him pick up where he left off.”
Maxime Lagace started for the 13th straight time on Friday but was pulled after giving up three goals. Bow allowed one goal and stopped 35 shots, while his teammates gave him some help on the offensive end. Rockford still outshot Texas 46-25.
He made his first start on Saturday and, despite a slow game for most of the night, stopped a breakaway in overtime and went 2-for-2 in the shootout.
“It was probably the best way he could get into the net,” Laxdal said. “It was 3-3 (Friday) and we made the change and he went in there with no pressure to think about the game, but the pressure to perform. He made some great saves through traffic and found the puck well.”
Legace (9-6-1, 3.51 GAA, .893 SV%) and Philippe Desrosiers (2-2, 3.25 GAA, .893 SV%) are the only other two goaltenders on the roster. Laxdal said Bow’s performance this weekend earned him another look in net in the near future.
The Stars continue their five-game home stand with a two-game series against the Milwaukee Admirals beginning Friday at 7:30 p.m. and finishing Saturday at 7 p.m. Texas plays seven of its next nine games at home.
Bow said the only other time he was in a shootout was in the ECHL and he won there too. Now his career in the AHL is off to a stellar start.
He hopes that trend can continue.
“I’ve learned less is more,” Bow said. “Everybody plays so well defensively on the team that I don’t have to worry about all the players doing everything. There are going to be guys covering you and helping you out the whole way.”