CEDAR PARK, Texas – Mike Hedden tallied two goals and Jamie Oleksiak scored the game-winning shootout goal in the tenth round to give the Texas Stars a 4-3 comeback victory over the Oklahoma City Barons Friday night at Cedar Park Center.
Texas used a pair of early penalty kills to generate momentum and earn a 1-0 lead after the opening period. Late in the frame, Mike Hedden spawned a roughing penalty on Martin Marincin during a scrum in front of the Oklahoma City net. Hedden then scooped up a deflected puck sent through the crease by Toby Petersen and slipped it inside the right post and past Barons goaltender Niko Hovinen at 16:28. The power play tally was Hedden’s fourth of the season; Petersen and Maxime Fortunus were both awarded assists on the goal. The Stars outshot the visitors 18-6 during the first period and were 1-for-1 with the man advantage, while Oklahoma City was 0-for-2.
The Barons turned up the offensive pressure in the second period. Texas was able to fend off another early Oklahoma City power play. The Barons maintained possession of the puck for the majority of the session, blasting a multitude of shots on Stars netminder Jack Campbell in the process. Campbell made a few excellent saves to rob the visitors of their first goal before Kristians Pelss finally broke through at 14:28. Pelss fired a wrister from the right wing that found its way through a screened Campbell to even the contest at one. A few minutes later Josh Green parked himself untouched in the slot and used a one-timer off a Toni Rajala centering pass from behind the net to capitalize top shelf. The assist on the goal at 16:47 was Rajala’s second of the night and put Oklahoma City in front 2-1 heading into the third period.
The Barons extended their lead to 3-1 on a penalty shot after Travis Morin hooked a streaking Antti Tyrvainen to the ice. Tyrvainen’s penalty shot wrister beat the blocker of Campbell at 7:26; it was the first penalty shot assessed against Texas this season. Hedden answered right back for the Stars with his second goal of the night when he tipped an Alex Chiasson wrist shot past Hovinen 89 seconds later to cut the deficit to 3-2. The Fortunus-Petersen power play combo proved lethal for Texas once again when Theo Peckham was sent to the penalty box for interference. Petersen took the puck from Fortunus and worked his way down the left half wall, sending a pass through the slot that Justin Dowling angled by a sprawling Hovinen at 11:54 to even the score 3-3. Time expired in regulation with no further scoring, sending the Stars into their third straight overtime game at Cedar Park Center.
After a wide open overtime session that saw ample chances for either team to grab the victory, including a huge Stars penalty kill over the final 30 seconds, the game headed to a shootout. Green and Chiasson were the only skaters to score for either side in the first nine rounds, as Campbell and Hovinen traded spectacular saves in an old fashioned goaltender’s duel. Campbell denied Pelss in the tenth round to give Jamie Oleksiak a chance to give the Stars a victory in his first game back with the team after a stint with Dallas. The Big Rig ripped the puck over Hovinen’s shoulder, off the underside of the crossbar and in to put the exclamation point on a thrilling 4-3 shootout win for the home team. After allowing Green’s shootout goal in the first round, Campbell stopped nine-straight Barons shooters.
Texas goaltender Jack Campbell stopped 28-of-31 shots and went 9-of-10 in the shootout to earn his ninth victory of the season. Oklahoma City starter Niko Hovinen denied 38-of-41 shots in regulation and overtime and stopped 8-of-10 Stars shooters in the loss. Texas outshot the Barons 42-31 and went 2-for-4 on the power play, while the visitors were 0-for-5 with the man advantage.