CHARLOTTE, NC — Travis Morin tied a franchise single game record with five points, both Morin and rookie Curtis McKenzie equaled a team record for most assists in one game with four, while Colton Sceviour and Chris Mueller each scored two goals as the Texas Stars romped to a 7-1 win over the Charlotte Checkers Friday night at a sold out Time Warner Cable Arena.
The first ten minutes of the game belonged to the Checkers as they outshot the Stars 10-2 early on, but Texas would shrug off the early shot disparity to score first. Mike Hedden exited the penalty box and immediately received a long pass from Cameron Gaunce, raced in on a two-on-one with Brendan Ranford and beat Charlotte goalie Mike Murphy with a wrist shot at 11:02.
It was Hedden’s 14th goal of the season, assisted by Gaunce, and it gave Texas a 1-0 lead. Three minutes later the Stars received their second power play of the game and took full advantage. Colton Sceviour and Curtis McKenzie executed a skillful give-and-go which ended with Sceviour beating Murphy with a dazzling backhand shot over the blocker and into the roof of the net for a power play goal at 14:43.
It was Sceviour’s 24th goal of the season, assisted by McKenzie and Travis Morin. Two minutes after Sceviour pulled ahead in the AHL’s goal-scoring race, Morin drew level by scoring his 24th goal of the year. Hubert Labrie slid the puck to Morin in the high slot and the league’s points leader fired a scorching snap shot over Murphy’s glove and into the top right corner of the net for a 3-0 Texas lead.
Justin Dowling made it 4-0 Stars just 3:19 into the second period, scoring his third goal in his last four games, being set up by Hedden and beating Murphy from close range.
Aaron Palushaj put the Checkers on the board with his 11th goal of the season, catching Texas on a bad line change and beating Cristopher Nilstorp, who was hung out to dry, at 8:10.
The Stars’ power play went back to work three minutes later as Morin and McKenzie combined to find Chris Mueller for an open net tap-in on the right side of the crease at 11:08.
Later in the period that trio linked up once again for another power play goal for Mueller, this time a back door one-timer from the left side of the cage. It was Mueller’s second goal of the night, both on the power play, giving him 17 goals on the season and chasing Murphy from the net.
Less than two minutes later, Sceviour made it 7-1 Texas, scoring his AHL-leading 25th goal of the year as he beat backup goalie John Muse at 17:41. Morin and McKenzie each assisted on the goal, giving both their fourth assists of the night, tying a Stars record for most assists in one game. It was also Morin’s fifth point of the game, which tied a single-game team record.
With a six goal lead heading into the third period, Texas chose to rest Nilstorp, sending in backup goaltender Josh Robinson to start the final frame. Robinson was sharp, stopping all ten shots he faced, but had to leave with 2:33 left in regulation due to a skate problem, so Nilstorp returned to close out the 7-1 win.
Cristopher Nilstorp recorded his 14th victory of the season, stopping 18-of-19 shots in 42:11 of action in goal for Texas. Backup Josh Robinson blocked all 10 shots he faced in 17:27 of relief for a no-decision. Charlotte starter Mike Murphy allowed six goals on 22 shots in the first 35:40 of the game and took the loss. Checkers backup John Muse made four saves on five shots in the final 24:09 of relief and took a no-decision. Charlotte out-shot the Stars 29-27 and went 0-for-4 on the power play. Texas was 3-for-6 with the man-advantage.
Audio courtesy of Owen Newkirk/Texas Stars Hockey Network