With minor league hockey it can be hard to remember that the club’s primary goal is to develop young players and provide an additional “bench” of talent should the NHL club need to fill roster gaps. For the Texas Stars, this year has been quite the revolving door between Cedar Park and Dallas. After a beating suffered at the hands of the Boston Bruins on Thursday, the Dallas Stars took a harder hit than ever and needed a few more hands on deck for their game with the league-leading Philadelphia Flyers tonight. For the Texas Stars, that meant more call ups. Already missing Aaron Gagnon, Travis Morin and Raymond Sawada, the Texas Stars also lost forwards Francis Wathier and Colton Sceviour to call ups.
In response, Texas was forced to reach down to their ECHL affiliate, the Idaho Steelheads for help. The team recalled Kael Mouillierat, who was active for the Stars’ 4-1 loss last night in Houston. For the match against Oklahoma this evening, it was left wing Mark Derlago who also got the call to aid the Texas Stars, signing a professional tryout agreement before the game. Despite the roster shifts, the Texas Stars powered through the divisional matchup this evening and came out with a 3-0 shutout of the Oklahoma City Barons. Backstopped by goalie Richard Bachman, the home team dominated the game from puck drop to the final whistle.
Early in the first, it was rookie left wing Ondrej Roman who took the lead for the Stars. Roman flipped one past Barons goalie Martin Gerber to give the Stars the power play goal at 6:53 in the first period. Greg Rallo and Brandon Segal assisted on the play. Just over a minute later it was Roman again, this time getting the assists from Jordie Benn and Tomas Vincour to put the Stars up 2-0. Things got chippy between the two teams late in the first and Texas left wing Michael Neal dropped the gloves with Oklahoma’s defenseman Jake Taylor. While it looked like Taylor came out on top in the scrap, Neal took his licks and came out of the box tough and finished the game with two shots on goal.
Both teams battled in the second, with the Barons outshooting the Stars 9-7, but Texas goalie Richard Bachman came up big for the Stars, even losing his goalie stick at one point and blocking a shot with his head. While searching for a stick and trying unsuccessfully to get one from his defenseman, the puck came Bachman’s way and he deflected it with his goalie mask. When asked about the play, Bachman said, “I was stickless and then they shot it and it kind of caught me off guard because I was looking for a stick at the same time, so I just figured I’d just stop it with my head instead. I don’t know – probably not the smartest thing to do, but at least my mom didn’t see it.”
In the final period, Brandon Segal sealed the Stars victory with an unassisted goal at 7:42. The goal was Segal’s third since joining the Texas Stars last month from Dallas. After the game, Ondrej Roman credited the team’s ability to stick to a system. Roman said, “It was time for some other guys to step up and we played a good team effort. We played basically the same game as we do always. We just have new guys and they seem to handle it pretty well.”
Richard Bachman, who made 30 saves in the shutout said it “has been a little tough with all of the guys going in and out of the locker room,” but said it was “good to be back after the All-Star break and playing at home.” Bachman also gave a nod to Roman for getting the game off to a quick start, and to newcomers Mouillierat and Derlago. In regards to the new additions to the team, Bachman said Mouillierat was a “solid presence” and that he “loved to see guys get their chance out there.” Bachman played with both of the forwards when he was in net for the Steelheads last season.
The Texas Stars earned two points in the standings tonight and will face another division rival at home on Tuesday evening when the Houston Aeros visit the Cedar Park Center.