The Texas Stars fielded one of its healthier lineups in weeks Wednesday night and extended their point streak to three games in a 2-1 win against the Oklahoma City Barons.
Defenseman Patrik Nemeth joined Maxime Fortunus on the top defensive pairing in his first game since Nov. 9, while goalie Cristopher Nilstorp returned from injury and picked up his first home win since Oct. 20.
“The last two periods we played really hard and good,” Nilstorp said. “It was a big win for us … I think we played really well in the box and the (defensive) zone.
“It was a big win for me and the team, I felt better, absolutely,” he added.
Texas took a 1-0 lead on the power play 4:19 into the second period on Chris Mueller’s eighth goal of the season.
Mueller found open space on the right side of the net and fired a shot past Jason Labarbera after pass from Colton Sceviour.
The goal was set up on a stick-handling gaffe by Labarbera. The goalie tried to play the puck out of the zone but mistakenly passed it to Sceviour who faked a shot and passed to Morin.
“He was confident playing the puck,” Sceviour said. “It didn’t look like he was going to rim it, so I went up the middle … he bobbled it a little bit, nine times out of 10 that play is out of the zone. I was in the right spot and able to get it over to Mules.”
It was one of the few mistakes Labarbera made in the game.
Recently assigned to Oklahoma City by the Edmonton Oilers, the 10-year NHL veteran stopped 39 of 41 shots in the loss. After a back-and-forth first period, Labarbera kept his team in the game for the remainder of the second period.
Texas outshot Oklahoma City 18-4 in the middle frame, generating several scoring chances on a trio of power plays. The penalty kill was good too, not allowing a shot during Oklahoma City’s only chance of the period.
After weathering the storm Oklahoma City tied the game 5:39 into the third period when Taylor Fedun collected a pass from behind the net and beat Nilstorp on the stick side.
The tie didn’t last long and Sceviour helped Texas regain the lead on a deflection in the crease. It was Sceviour’s team-leading 15th goal of the season and came off a pass from Curtis McKenzie.
For Sceviour the goal was his 200th AHL point in his 315th game with the Texas Stars. He now sits at 201 for his career, with one assist coming in the NHL last season.
“It means I’ve been in the AHL too long,” Sceviour joked. “For an organization that I’ve been here since Day 1 it’s kind of cool … to get it in a win is even better.”
After Sceviour’s goal Texas was able to close out the victory and limited Oklahoma City to a five shots for the remainder of the game, including another power play that Barons didn’t manage a shot on net.
“(The defense) put the angles away and keep the box nice and tight,” Nilstorp said about his defense. “I could see the puck when they had some shots … we blocked shots (well) too.”
Nilstorp finished with 24 saves on 25 shots, including 13 stops in the first period.