The Texas Stars continue to roll and rack up the wins and points. The Stars won for the sixth time in their last eight games, defeating the Peoria Rivermen, 4-1, at Cedar Park Center Saturday night.
The Stars, who snapped a three-game winless streak at home, improved to 6-1-1-0 in their last eight games overall and to 9-2-2-0 over their last 13 contests.
Matt Fraser and Reilly Smith each scored two goals for the Stars, who got a 19-save performance from goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp.
“They tried to play a physical game and take over the game that way. We had a lot of guys that really stood up and really turned the game around for us,” said Smith. “I think that really was the catalyst in us turning the game around early.”
The Stars and Rivermen played a physical first period that featured some big hits, three fights and two goals.
“They weren’t that physical in their rink. I was surprised with how physical they played,” said Texas coach Willie Desjardins. “You have to be able to play any kind of game if you are going to be successful, and I thought we did a good job. They played physical, we played physical back.”
Peoria scored first, getting a shorthanded tally from Jaden Schwartz 7:24 into the game. Schwartz stole the puck from Texas defenseman Cam Barker, broke in on net and scored on the rebound of his own shot to give the Rivermen a 1-0 lead.
The Stars answered just 36 seconds later when a Cody Eakin shot from the left circle went wide, but Smith grabbed the rebound off the endboards and scored off a sharp angle to tie the game at the 8:00 mark of the first period.
The Stars came out with a lot of pressure early in the second period and took the lead at the 4:01 mark. Travis Morin sent a cross-ice pass to Fraser, who scored off a blast from the right circle.
Fraser struck again 4:25 later when he roofed the rebound of a Morin shot to put the Stars ahead 3-1 at the 8:26 mark of the second.
Things got heated late in the period when Peoria forward Anthony Peluso appeared to spear Nilstorp, who went down in the crease. There was no penalty on the play, but the incident had players jawing at each other until the intermission break.
“That’s a tough call. If the ref didn’t see it, he didn’t see it and he can’t make the call,” Desjardins said. “I don’t want the ref to make a call he didn’t see. He has to see it. He missed it and that’s what happens.”
The Stars added to their lead with a five-on-three power play goal in the third period. Smith scored his second of the night, roofing a rebound at the 11:32 mark of the third for his fifth goal of the season.
Glennie out with hand injury; Chiasson leaves game
Forward Scott Glennie did not play Saturday night. Coach Willie Desjardins said Glennie has a hand injury.
“He hurt his hand a little bit, so he is going to be out a little bit,” Desjardins said.
Forward Alex Chiasson left Saturday’s game in the third period after he blocked a shot. Chiasson, who had to be helped off the ice, wasn’t putting any weight on his right leg. Desjardins said he didn’t have any update on Chiasson.
“I haven’t talked to anybody yet, so I am not sure where he’s at,” Desjardins said.
*Reilly Smith has scored five goals in the last seven games.
*Matt Fraser has scored nine goals in his last 17 games.
*Travis Morin had two assists in the game, giving him a team-high ten for the season.
*In his last eleven appearances, Cristopher Nilstorp is 7-3-0 with a 1.77 goals against average and .933 save percentage.
*Texas outshot Peoria 43-24 in the game.
*Colton Sceviour led the Stars with seven shots on goal.
*Texas was 1-5 on the power play and 4-4 on the penalty kill.
Scratches: Sloan, Vause