Mueller Scores AHL-Leading 14th Power Play Goal; McKenzie Tallies 20th Goal of the Season
CLEVELAND, OH – Chris Mueller scored his AHL-leading 14th power play goal of the season and rookie Curtis McKenzie netted his 20th of the year as the Texas Stars earned a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Lake Erie Monsters Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
The first period was the exact opposite of Tuesday’s game, as Texas took the game to Lake Erie and had a sizable shots on goal advantage. After killing off an early Monsters power play, the Stars were awarded their first man-advantage. Texas created lots of scoring chances on the two-minute power play, but was unable to beat Lake Erie goaltender Calvin Pickard. Then 15 seconds after the power play expired, the Monsters grabbed the lead when Paul Carey’s cross-ice pass found Michael Schumacher for a quick one-timer low through the pads of Stars’ goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp at 8:43. Texas continued to create chances, out-shooting Lake Erie 13-7, but the period ended with the home team ahead 1-0.
The Stars took consecutive penalties early in the second period. William Wrenn was whistled for cross-checking and then Jamie Oleksiak was called for delay of game, but Texas’ high-ranked penalty kill was able to keep Lake Erie from adding to its lead. The Stars tied the game at one at 14:34 when Colton Sceviour brought the puck around the back of the net and took a shot from a low angle that was tipped-in by rookie Curtis McKenzie. The goal was McKenzie’s 20th of the season, while Sceviour recorded his 60th point with the primary assist and Oleksiak had the second helper.
Lake Erie ran into some penalty trouble early in the third period and Texas cashed in to take the lead. With a five-on-three advantage, Chris Mueller slammed home a back-door one-timer from Travis Morin and Sceviour, scoring his league-leading 14th power play goal of the year at 3:41, his 24th goal of the season. The Monsters responded with a power play goal of their own when defensemen Stefan Elliott took a shot from the left circle that beat Nilstorp over the blocker and found the top right corner at 7:24. The two teams completed a thrilling third period and overtime with numerous chances to reclaim the lead and win the game, but instead it went to a shootout.
Colin Smith scored the only shootout goal Lake Erie would need in the second round and Schumacher clinched the shootout with a goal in the fifth round, while Pickard stopped all four shooters he faced to lead the Monsters to a 3-2 victory.
Calvin Pickard made 34 saves on 36 shots through regulation and overtime and went 4-for-4 in the shootout to record his 13th win of the season in goal for Lake Erie. Texas goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 31-of-33 shots during open play and went 3-for-5 in the shootout and took the shootout loss. The Stars out-shot the Monsters 36-34 and both teams were 1-for-4 on the power play.
The Texas Stars will continue their a five-game road trip as they travel to San Antonio on Saturday, March 1st for a 7:00 p.m. face off at AT&T Center. Texas will return to Cedar Park Center Saturday, March 8th to face the Charlotte Checkers with a 7:00 p.m. face off. Saturday’s game is a Coke Zero Family Four Pack Night and a Texas Lottery Lucky Row Night, as well as a Stars Team Poster giveaway and there will be a post-game autograph session. 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: John Saraya/Lake Erie Monsters