TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal couldn’t help but laugh after the Dallas Stars prospects team defeated the Chicago Blackhawks prospect team 4-2 in the opening game of the tournament here in Northern Michigan.
“Just how we drew it up,” Laxdal, who’s coaching the prospects this week, said with a smile as he greeted Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff and general manager Jim Nill after the game.
If that was the game plan, it certainly wasn’t conventional.
Dallas trailed Chicago 2-1 entering the third period and was still trailing with one minute, 11 seconds remaining when Remi Elie put the puck in the net.
But, the play was blown dead. No goal.
The Stars then took their timeout, regrouped, and pieced together a three-goal comeback in the final 42.5 seconds.
First Dallas tied the game on a point shot by Stephen Johns after Mattias Janmark won a face-off back to the right-handed defenseman.
Sixteen seconds later, Devin Shore broke in with Cole Ully on a two-on-one and easily scored with 26 seconds left on the clock.
“Probably the easiest goal I’ll score,” Ully said.
Chicago then had one last rush, and almost tied the game, but Jason Dickinson scored with 2.5 seconds remaining to ice the victory.
“You never really want to draw it up that way, and you never really want to be down in the last minute,” Ully said. “But, I mean, we’ll take it obviously. And sometimes that’s how you have to win games.”
It was the breakthrough Dallas was looking for against Chicago goalie Brandon Hope.
Before the final barrage Hope had stopped 29 of the first 30 shots he faced, and impressed a crowd filled with multiple NHL scouts. The former Niagara IceDog is a free agent invite to camp and is looking for a job after going undrafted.
While the Hope turned some heads, Dallas goalie Philippe Desrosiers lived up to expectations and turned away 26 shots.
And it was a bit of a mental battle.
Dallas had the first six shots of the game and Desrosiers didn’t face a challenge for almost eight minutes. It was eerily reminiscent to the 2014 prospects tournament where Dallas had the first 10 shots of the game, but Desrosiers then let up the first shot he faced.
“It’s tough for a goalie to settle in,” Laxdal said. “I thought he made some great saves in the first period there and settled in as the game went along.”
Earlier the teams traded three goals in the second period.
Emil Molin scored for Dallas, while Ryan Haggerty and Hayden McCool scored for Chicago.
Notes: Radek Faksa looked rusty in his first full game since returning from a shoulder injury. Laxdal said he’ll rest tomorrow, while Brandon Troock will enter the lineup … Mattias Janmark was one of the better players Friday, and Laxdal shuffled the lines in the third period and moved him between Jason Dickinson and Remi Elie … Dallas power play fizzled in the game and went 1-for-6, but Laxdal said that could be credited to first-game jitters… After the victory Laxdal said Brent Moran would start in goal against the Hurricanes.
Jason Dickinson-Radek Faksa-Remi Elie
Devin Shore-Mattias Janmark-Cole Ully
Brett Pollock-Gemel Smith-Emil Molin
Mads Eller-Brandon Magee-Chase Witala
Esa Lindell-Stephen Johns
Ludwig Bystrom-Julius Honka
Alex Peters-Aaron Haydon