Stars Sweep Season Series against Wolves, Reclaim First Place in the Western Conference
ROSEMONT, IL – Kevin Henderson scored two goals and Mike Hedden notched the game-winner in overtime as the Texas Stars beat the Chicago Wolves 3-2 Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena. The victory gave Texas a four-game sweep of the season series against Chicago and moved the Stars back into first place in the Western Conference.
The Stars tested Chicago goalie Jake Allen early on, but could not find the net. The Wolves grabbed their first lead in the season series at 7:25 when a Texas turnover in the defensive zone setup Sergey Andronov on a two-on-one down low and he slid a pass to an unmarked Keith Aucoin on the left circle for a one-timer into the open net and a 1-0 lead. Aucoin’s goal was the first scored by Chicago in the season series by someone other than defenseman Jani Hakanpaa. A mere 47 seconds later the game was tied at one. A bad miscue between Allen and one of his defenseman behind the net gifted Kevin Henderson an easy tap-in into the vacated Wolves goal to level the score. The unassisted goal was Henderson’s first as a member of the Stars.
Texas enjoyed more good fortune in the second period. Alexander Bolduc thought he had tied the game at two at the 11:24 mark, but the play was whistled dead do to a delayed penalty on the Wolves for too-many men on the ice. The Stars did not score on the ensuing power play, but did light the lamp a mere three seconds after the advantage expired. Taylor Vause made a beautiful backhand pass from behind the net to set up Henderson for a one-timer from the low slot, who snapped a shot by the blocker of Allen at 13:27 for his second goal of the game and a 2-1 Texas lead. Minutes later, Aucoin nearly registered his second tally of the contest, but his shot from the slot was denied by a strong save for Stars goaltender Josh Robinson.
As the third period unfolded it appeared that the 2-1 lead would be enough for Texas. That changed with 3:34 left in regulation as Ty Rattie scored his 24th goal of the season, scoring from in close on a pass from Nathan Longpre that gave Robinson no chance for a save.
The Stars wasted little time in overtime, however. Justin Dowling pounced on a loose puck when Wolves captain Taylor Chorney slipped and fell in his own zone. Dowling centered a pass to Derek Meech and the Texas defenseman showed amazing composure to fake out Allen, skate around the Chicago goalie and then slide the puck between Allen and the near post to set up a yawning net for Mike Hedden to slam home with a one-timer from just above the crease. The goal came just 35 seconds into overtime and was Hedden’s 21st of the season, his fourth game-winner.
Making his first start for Texas since February 16th at Rochester, Josh Robinson (6-6-0) made 23 saves on 25 shots to record his sixth win of the year. Jake Allen (26-14-2) took the loss, stopping 27-of-30 shots in goal for Chicago, suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time since mid-January. The Stars out-shot the Wolves 30-25 and went 0-for-6 on the power play, while Chicago was 0-for-2 with the man-advantage.
The Texas Stars will complete their current three-game road trip on Wednesday, March 19th at 7:05 p.m. with their sixth, and final, regular season meeting with the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena. The Stars will return to Cedar Park Center on Friday, March 21st as they host the Oklahoma City Barons at 7:30 p.m. Friday’s game kicks off Military Appreciation Weekend presented by Round Rock Auto Group and $3 Beer & $4 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Wine Night. Pro-rated full and partial 2013-14 Texas Stars Season Tickets are on sale now. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.
Photo credit: Dale Woltman/Chicago Wolves